Friday, November 1, 2013

Counterpoint: Arcade Fire's Reflektor

Almost ten years ago, Arcade Fire emerged with Funeral, an album with character, depth and a sense of familiarity, a record promising a long and celebrated career. Perhaps most interesting on their debut was the powerful aesthetic sense of a band that seemed to crawl out of the Woodlands/Montreal woodwork with a refined and mature understanding of who they were and what they wanted to achieve with Funeral: an emotional indie rock record with crossover potential, somber but fun, playful yet serious.  

“Action and passion are as absent in the present age as peril is absent from swimming in shallow waters.”
—Kierkegaard, Søren, Two Ages: A Literary Review.

“Trapped in a prism, in a prism of light                                                                                       Alone in the darkness, darkness of white                                                                           
We fell in love, alone on a stage                                                        
In the reflective age.”

—Fire, Arcade, “Reflektor.”

Fast-forward to 2013 – past the dark Americana of Neon Bible and the Grammy-winning Suburbs – and Arcade Fire’s musical sense has experienced a sea change, repping Studio 54 over Les Foufounes électriques, the Disco 16th over Rock’s quarter notes. Despite the rhythmic re-envisioning of the band and the deep persuasion of producer James Murphy, their aesthetic vision remains deeply rooted in the themes of their past records: a personal sense of loss and damage, visions of contemporary America through a television tube, Haitian beliefs and rhythms via singer Régine Chassagne. On Reflektor, Arcade Fire explores their influence and comes out with a lush and entirely original final product, honing in on contemporary life lived through a computer monitor.

- Matt Stieb, Operations Manager

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