Friday, August 06, 2010

Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" -- My Review -- Fiery & Fantastic

Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about music. I listen to it 24/7 -- at home -- in the office -- always. Accordingly, I am passionate about my favorite bands -- I'm like a little kid at Christmas-time when they release new albums.

Case in point Arcade Fire. Their new album, "The Suburbs," dropped earlier this week -- and I experienced my first full listen during my morning run yesterday. And, got lost (both figuratively and literally -- figuratively in the music ... and literally along the horse trails around my new 'hood as I listened).

The verdict? Fiery and fantastic. The band has always been over-the-top in their dramatic lyrics, dramatic production, dramatic live performances -- baroque, in a word. And, that's a good thing, since they can pull it off. In this case, they take on a familiar topic -- the suburbs in which most of us grew up and still live -- and the conformity and shopping malls that surround us. Listen to the lyrics -- compelling.

And, even better -- the melodies. As much as I liked the band's last album, "Neon Bible," it paled next to its first effort "Funeral" (which I deem to be a classic). Neon Bible didn't do it for me -- was a significant disappointment.

Not this time though. "The Suburbs" is fantastic -- the band is back to form. Particular tracks that stand out for me are "Suburban War" (the title gives you a hint of the mood invoked by the album), "Half Light II (No Celebration)," "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," "The Suburbs," and "Ready to Start." And, as much as lead singer Win Butler laments all the wasted time growing up in the suburbs amid the mountains beyond mountains of shopping malls, his final lyrics are telling -- i.e., "If I could have it back -- all the time that I wasted -- I'd waste it all again ..."

If you know the band -- you will love this album. There is no wasted time on this album. No filler. All excellent. If you don't know the band yet, get to know them. One of the most compelling bands in the music scene today.