Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

The Arcade Fire are the next in a long line of indie heavyweights to release a highly anticipated follow-up album this year. I’m starting to get the feeling that all these bands (see: The Shins, Of Montreal, CYHSY) are somehow in cahoots because yet again this album appears to be ‘good, but not as good as previous work’. But in each of this cases, I’ve gotten enjoyment out the album, because regardless of what they’ve done before, this music is good. When a band I love releases something new and it sounds great, it I’m not about to start complaining. This was especially so for Neon Bible, because after all, how could you possibly surpass Funeral? It was, in my opinion, the most significant album of the decade. It may have taken 10 listens to like and upwards of 30 listens to fully appreciate it, but I got there. Boy was it worth it. The emotion conveyed within that album is simply breathtaking and the way it flows seamlessly from one extreme to another left me in awe. Yes, if you never listened to Funeral, I suggest you do it right now, repeatedly. While Neon Bible may succeed in recreating The Arcade Fire’s signature powerful sound, it does so inconsistently and leaves you feeling somewhat distant. As I said before, it’s great, you can’t take that away from it, but it’s not Funeral. While it will only get better with repeat listens, I doubt it will ever reach the same level.

Black Waves / Bad Vibrations – One of Arcade Fire’s biggest strengths has always been having male and female vocalists who are equally capable. This song highlights this perfectly. It’s also quite similar to their older material which can’t hurt.

(Antichrist Television Blues) – I really like this song for it’s sense of movement. And those background vocals…they are not human.

Neon Bible should appear in stores somewhere between 3rd and 6th March. A deluxe edition will also be available, featuring special packaging and a 32 page booklet.

16 comments:

Wayne said...

Its funny, but I loved Funeral from first listen. I think Neon Bible is a worthy follow up, not as great, but more variety in some ways. Definitely one that will keep all AF fans happy. Btw I now have the Menomena CD in my hands and I LOVE IT.

Mowgli said...

Funeral caught my ear from the first listen as well - in fact, it restored my faith in new music. Neon Bible is growing on me so much that I am tempted to say that I'll like it as much as I did Funeral. Unfortunately, the first song I heard off the album was Black Mirror, which is the only song that I've heard that I do not like. Menomena - somebody please help me find something interesting on their recent release. So far, I've heard nothing from that album that I'd like to hear again.

Jeff said...

It's really, really hard to top Funeral. But unlike The Shins, for example, AF actually come close to releasing an album as good as their last. Neon Bible is miles ahead of Wincing the Night Away.

Tom said...

Thanks man, before now the only track I'd heard off the new album was 'Intervention', which was pretty darn good.

I must say, when I first heard Funeral, it didn't grab me staright away - there were a couple of songs, but the rest seemed sort of ordinary to me (this might have been due to the fact that it was number 1 in so many top 10 lists the year it came out). But the album really grew on me, and I have a feeling Neon Bible will be the same.

Arpit Mehta said...

You should be getting an email from their reps within a matter of hours... they've kept this waaay under wraps.

Peter said...

Yeah I too get the feeling it could happen at any moment. I really didn't want to post this until release, however I plan on doing something different during March so had to get it out. Oh well, even if the mp3's do get removed, hopefully people will still be able to see that it's worth their money.

Rock Daze said...

Wow, after listening to those songs I went straight to the myspace for more, indie bands don't usually grab me but wow these guys sure did the lyrics and the composition of the songs are great the production is a bit sketchy but hey, their Canadians.

asourceofinspiration.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
asourceofinspiration.com said...

Got it!
The CD Deluxe edition has just arrived

Arpit Mehta said...

Looks like you're still good. They caught on to me within hours... but then again I posted 4 tracks :p

I dig this album a lot though - I enjoyed the last one, but I never got into it as much as I have this one... I think it's more the lyrics than anything else. Anyways, I'm just getting excited to see them live. I can't imagine what that's gonna be like!

Peter said...

Indeed, I havent been asked to remove them, but in a strange twist of fate, my file server decided to shut down for three days...perhaps their reps are more powerful than we imagined...i dont think I'll upload elsewhere as the links should come back just in time for release.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear that Arcade Fire got the Phantom of the Opera to produce their new work..Neon Bible?!
The result is simply incredible. Arcade Fire convey the same sense of urgency but the tonal pallete is darker and more apocalytic. Still the same band (which is great!) but definitely channeling some different ghosts. Win's lyrics are more direct and well..just better. It seems his voice is pushed up front a bit. There is a section of 'keep the car running' where his voice echoes in an almost operatic tone...it's stunning. Besides the David Byrne timbre, Win's got his own voice now..but he's experimenting with a uhm...Bruce Springsteen persona. It works though because this is like an apocalytic preacher-church-goer-Bruce surveying a decaying society and world where 'there's not much chance for survival'. Sure it's grim, but it's lush sounding and completely enveloping. Also I hear Roger Waters (Pink Floyd, for the kids) in Neon Bible and maybe Intervention. Again, stressing that Win sounds great here. I'm making this comparison because the music is so grand and dramatic, one of these two tracks could be on The Wall. Perhaps the oddest comparison that I've overheard is that the last song 'My Body is a Cage' sounds a bit like 'In the Air Tonight' by Phil Collins (when he was kinda cool). I've played it back, and there are similarities in tempo and emotional brooding. But, then that Magestic Pipe Organ comes out of nowhere and shatters your eardrums! All the while Arcade Fire sound like themselves which is what most of us want. There are traces of Joy Division, Talking Heads, The Cure, maybe. But, basically a dose of post-punk and early 80's that serve as a foundation and then stretching into folk and orchestral music. But I love Arcade's willingness to embrace new instruments and in a sense bend their genre(s) as well, adding new elements into a tasty stew. Hmm...I'm hungry all of a sudden! By the way...it's sounds like Win is saying 'en, deu, trois-eat your foie gras' in 'Black Mirror'? That's probably not accurate, but it's funny to me! I think with repeated listening, Neon Bible will prove to be either as good...or almost as good as their debut. Keep in mind folks...this is only Arcade's 2nd proper album...so they're just warming up. Wow!

Anonymous said...

the shins vs arcade fire? high school, snap out of it.

AF are great live, but come on...so much hype. the lyrics on this record are crap except "My Body..." which is a re-work, sort of a cheat.

mel said...

hey peter long time no comment! i just had a look at your 2006 list. one of my favourites of said year that you hadn't listed was Man Man's 'Six Demon Bag'. i have no idea how to describe it except awesome. check it out if you haven't by now :)

backin15 said...

Funeral took me a while, a few listens, but quickly became a favourite. I've just bought Neon Bible and have been thrashing it - excellent follow up.

Antichrist Television Blues reminds of me of early Springsteen; vital and urgent with this undercurrent of desparate protest.

Andrew said...

Hey, nice way to regurgitate everyone else with your comments, guys! One reviewer a few weeks ago said Track 8 & 9 sound like Springsteen and now every indie kid who has an 'opinion' rips it off to sound music-literate. Joy Division & The Cure? Everything that sounds "80's" these days is linked those two bands. What other 80's bands were there? Now for my opinion that everyone can dismiss...Neon sounds too similar to Funerals. The drummer is probably one of the most uninteresting in indie music, and they are a band that relies far too much on an increase in intensity for EVERY SINGLE SONG. I suppose it's not all bad, but they seem too stuck in that formula, that this album will easily get ignored in another 5 years. Still, I'd give it a 7 or 7.5 and will listen to it happily for a few months. So, y'know, swings and round-abouts.