July 23rd, 2010 | Featured | 0 Comments
So, as many of you know, The Arcade Fire‘s highly anticipated third album, The Suburbs, leaked today. The Arcade Fire are one of my favourite bands so I was totally psyched for this album. Here are my first impressions (which are subject to change).
It’s good. It’s not a disappointment. The Arcade Fire have not “lost it” or anything along those lines. However, at this point in time, as I write this, I don’t think the album is quite as good as either Funeral or Neon Bible.
Here’s the thing: firstly, there’s far less emphasis on the string section this time around. I mean, do you remember how awesome those violins were on songs like “Laika” or “Neon Bible?” Really awesome! Now they sound so scaled back, lower in the mix. The Arcade Fire was the band that made string sections a big thing in rock! I mean, I can understand wanting to change things up, but those violins were amazing!
The other thing I have a problem with is that Win Butler doesn’t sound as engaged. It’s like he doesn’t have anything to prove anymore. Do you remember listening to “Rebellion (Lies)”? Do you remember the power that was in his voice? I remember an AllMusicGuide review said it was like a lion tamer’s whip that got shorter with each strike. Now it just seems like he’s doing his thing, but that sense of danger and urgency that made him so exciting isn’t there anymore.
That being said, every song on The Suburbs is at least good. Even “Month of May”, which I’d say is the worst Arcade Fire song, is still pretty good. “Ready to Start”, “We Used To Wait”, “Roccoco” and plenty others are great, great songs. Better than most of the music out there these days. Still, they don’t stand out the way “Wake Up” or “Intervention” did. They just do their thing, and they’re great, but it’s not the same.
The Suburbs isn’t The Arcade Fire‘s Forgiveness Rock Record - a highly anticipated album that meets and exceeds expectations; one that sounds like it’s been given the laborious effort over and above what’s required. What it is is a solid collection of songs by great songwriters that doesn’t aim for the heights hit by the two albums that preceded it. However, as I said, this is only my first impression, and it’s likely to change, so check back soon for updates.