Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible - [Merge Records]


Judging by the prophecy's given by Arcade Fire's new bible, the near future looks very dark, to be precise - the present itself is already very much in a bad shape. The new Arcade Fire release, which stands to all measures with their critically acclaimed debut "Funeral", is filled with raging prophecies of the world around us, and sets a black mirror to the reality we live in today. Yes, that one YOU live in today as well.

In 2004, Arcade fire released their debut album "Funeral", which was very much looking at inside issues, a private mourn if you'd like. This mourn became a very much successful, and might I say, masterpiece of mourning, which earned them with a big fanbase, including fans like David Bowie, David Byrne, U2, and every music critic that came in the path of their music.

Touring and living it up to the album hype made 2005 a very intense year for the 7 musicians from Canada, and in 2006 they sat down to work and write new songs. When they finally sat down to do so, a feeling that something big is happening was spread around them, and indeed it happened.
The band wanted the studio to be set up in a unique environment; a small church outside Montreal was selected as the "unique environment", and fast enough they moved all their instruments and studio into the church. Ideas stared to flow, and quickly enough they decided that the album will be self-produced so they could capture the vision in its entire form.

The song "Black mirror" opens the album, giving us a reflection of the world as it is seen from the band's point of view. A forlorn situation, as we can see later on in songs like "Neon Bible", telling us that if the bible is right and there are no chances of survival. With that notion you can find songs asking questions like "World War III when are you coming for me?" along with harsh criticism about religion, wars, and the obvious American culture.

It's hard to describe the sound of the album in a precise manner; Accurate, big, expanded, varied, and surprising - All these descriptions are pale in comparison to what you will actually hear on the album, and maybe Tolkien would've been the only one with the right words of description. If the seven members weren't enough to make their musical dream come true, they brought some friends along to play strings section, brass section, an orchestra, and choir. The more common electric instruments are varied none the less.

From its apocalyptic beginning to its continuation which feels like you've been given a real musical glimpse of how the world looks like, and the suitable grandiose finish with the song "My body is a cage", Arcade Fire set a high bar to all albums to be released this upcoming year. Albums like this don’t come every day, I will hardly say every year, and maybe it's just as hard to try to anticipate how these things happen. While the world is busy with recycling itself endlessly, Arcade Fire have set a new standard, and maybe became the first band in this millennium that earns a rightful place in the modern musical pantheon.

Roy Povarchik

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