ALBUM REVIEW: Arcade Fire – ‘Everything Now’

Since 2001, Arcade Fire has risen from little known indie band to an arena filling household name.  All along this ascension the band has transformed musically in a dramatic fashion, adding noisy complexity and ambitiously fusing genres.  Everything Now, released July 28, is a continuation and exploration of this same process.

Capturing international attention with their first full length release of 2004’s Funeral, Arcade Fire cemented themselves in the public eye as one of the more important bands to keep an eye on in the new millennium.  Funeral was somber, ideas that dealt with death and loss filled the acoustic anthems, humble yet epic.  Following Funeral came Neon Bible, doom ridden but more poppy than its predecessor.  The Suburbs released in 2010 strayed little in style but had a track or two that experimented with electronic pop, foreshadowing 2013’s Reflektor and its full on disco onslaught.

Continuing the a dance inducing, infectious pop approach Everything Now leaves no genre left behind.  Beginning the album with the title track the listener already notices the resemblances with Reflektor, toe tapping disco drums and dreamy piano and synth.  The tracks are seamless, noises and familiar sounds replace the typical silence between tracks, not unlike Reflektor.  “Signs of Life” is almost post disco, hand claps and conversational verses that hearkens back to Blondie’s Autoamerican.  Keeping up with the conversational lyrics the track “Creature Comfort” shouts, ‘God make me famous, if you can’t just make it painless!’  The listener discovers this record’s lyrics are more straightforward than Reflektor’s cryptic and existential themes.  The next two tracks “Peter Pan” and “Chemistry” have a 1980s dub reggae feel, but with Arcade Fire’s whimsical and almost comedic twist.  “Infinite Content” touches on punk aspects, then changes direction completely.  “Electric Blue” has more of a club feel, falsetto vocals, and a driving snare that cuts through the track.  “Good God Damn” is repetitious to a fault, but gets the point across, followed by “Put Your Money On Me” sounding more like the title track.  The album finishes with “We Don’t Deserve Love”, a slow dreary track, and “Everything Now(Continued)”, a slow take on the title track.

Everything Now is purely Arcade Fire.  Pushing their musical boundaries, to a point that could lose some fans.  Changing their lyrical style that once you’re comfortable and think you know these musicians they turn around and surprise you.  It’s hard to tell if the band enjoys their fame or not, their ongoing lyrical satire, almost poking fun at the monoculture that their success is built upon, and yet they continue, powerful and ever changing.

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