The Arcade Fire

Merge, 2004

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


Attention deficit disorder is sweeping the music nation. One minute-long spot on The OC and a band is proclaimed the next Beatles to legions of adoring fans for just about that long.

Of course, there's always the next sensation waiting in the wings for their shot at the limelight. But even amid that atmosphere, some bands manage to awe even the most jaded of music reviewers (okay, maybe not jaded... hopefully I've got a few years for that). The Arcade Fire is one of them.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Bought on a whim after an iTunes binge, Funeral is of the best albums to emerge out of the past few years. On first listen, the Canadian-born musicians manage to take you to their world , combining sweeping, picturesque scenery with a vast amount of instruments (an accordion and a xylophone are particularly notable). In an era characterized by lip-synching and barely legal popstars, it's somehow feels that bit more special to discover a band that's honestly talented. Each of the seven musicians can be found switching instrumental duties in between songs on their accredited live show.

Funeral is the band's debut album after they formed in mid-2003 around the husband and wife pair, vocalists (and harmonica-ist, among other credits) Win Butler and Régine Chassagne. It's one of those albums that can be shoved in the CD player at any time and immediately transport you elsewhere. Funeral illustrates not only the pain of loss, as the title would suggest, but the desire to achieve, to break out of the restraints that the quartet of 'Neighborhood' themed songs places upon us all at some point.

From the lilting first track, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)," to the standout building climax of "Wake Up," The Arcade Fire never falls into repetitiveness or trite metaphors relating to lost memories of youth. It remains real and raw throughout its entirety, which I consider to be a feat. The only slow point it hits is at the end, in the drawn out "In The Backseat." The simplistic lyrics just don't have enough meat to make up for clocking in at over six minutes.

This is one of those bands I'm truly hoping gains the respect they deserve without separating too far from what made them unique. Now who wants to bet on which instrument is next to be introduced into their lineup? I'm putting my money on bagpipes.

Rating: A-

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© 2005 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Merge, and is used for informational purposes only.