The “Fire” Returns to Rise

After Arcade Fire impressed mainstream audiences with “The Suburbs” (thanks to its critical acclaim as Best Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammy’s), the band reached a newfound success, surpassing their cult following. The album graced Urban Outfitters record bins everywhere and became a symbol for the suburban rut that many American citizens are all too familiar with (ironic, considering they are Canadian).

Courtesy of Merge Records

Courtesy of Merge Records

With this in mind, their new album “Reflektor” was without a doubt one of the most anticipated albums of 2013, and rightfully so. The band fed off this anxiety, leaving sneaky “notes” on the Internet and posters around New York and Los Angeles with hints referencing the then-unannounced title of the album. Fans (including myself) ate this up until a release date and cover art were finally given away later in the summer.

“Reflektor” is quite a comeback for Arcade Fire, to say the least. The band takes on a whirlwind of fusions, from a multitude of different eras, primarily the era of 80s glam rock, reminiscent of David Bowie classics.

The single “Reflektor,” a seven-minute long jungle rock-esque track, starts off the album. There are fusions of French pop thrown in, thanks to lead female vocalist Regine Chassagne. Her French lyrics combine tastefully with the jazz symphonies that accompany the chorus. The whole track sounds as if the song repeats twice but with different lyrics. It starts the album off strong and it only gets better from there.

The rest of the album is packed with memorable tracks. Quite a few are reminiscent of good old classic rock, but with an added edge that takes some help from jazz instrumentals and bongo drums. All of “Reflektor” is quite danceable, really, especially “Here Comes the Night,” which is — without a doubt — the best song on the album.

Lasting about six minutes, the track takes twists and turns that make listeners beg for more. The first 30 seconds or so start out as fast-paced, strong and loud without shame. It then plays with the audience, thanks to a whimsical piano riff and funky bass line. The song is purely 80s glam rock and picks back up and slows back down once again.

“Here Comes the Night Time II” is a sharp contrast to the first part, and the fact that it is a part two is a classic Arcade Fire move, taking a break from the upbeat-ness of the former to simply chant some important themes that listeners might not have caught on to earlier.

The album continues in this manner, recreating classic rock in a way that has a funk feel to it. “Supersymmetry” closes it off in a “reflective” manner. The song is slow, bass-filled, and purely instrumental, with electronic synth noises accompanying it. “Reflektor” is such a carefully crafted album, and once again, an amazing comeback from Arcade Fire. The band has certainly proved, after the remarkable “Neon Bible,” that they are able to bring consistency to their sound in such a way that allows for innovation and still pleases fans.

 

RECOMMENDED: Arcade Fire does the impossible by creating an album about as great as its predecessor, “The Suburbs.”