Thursday, March 15, 2007
Album Review: Neon Bible
The Arcade Fire had a tough act to follow after releasing their debut album Funeral in 2005. Funeral was about as good as it gets for a debut album by any band. Their sophomore release Neon Bible is no Funeral, but it is an outstanding album none the less. It is crystal clear that the band has seen more of the world and seen that there is a lot of corruption and darkness. On the TV, in the news, in the Church, everywhere you go. They explore these issues creatively with deep and mature lyrics, but thankfully they don't leave you feeling empty and hopeless.
This was on of the most anticipated releases of the year, and it certainly has lived up to its expectations. A refreshing sound, something different than the crap you usually hear on the radio.
Black Mirror - The opening song has an appropriate name as it reflects the mood for the album, very dark. Lyrically it is a good song, with the band alternating between French and English during the chorus. Win's voice along with Regine's is particularly strong on this track.
Keep the Car Running - You just can't help moving while listening to this track, it is like a big kitchen party for the ears. They have a full orchestra of instruments on this songs making it an epic track, carrying the same emotion that was heard on Funeral in songs like Wake Up and Rebellion.
Neon Bible - This is the only track on the album I can't get into. A simple but beautiful song.
Intervention - One of their most powerful songs, not just because of the music, but because of the deep lyrics. Once again they demonstrate how talented they are musically with a variety of instruments from the church organ to the violins, to the xylophone. The organ fits the song well as the song is about 'working for the Church while your life falls apart'.
Black Wave/Bad Vibrations - The only song that Regine really has a lead vocal role as she sings the first part of the song beautifully, intertwining French and English together like only the Arcade Fire can. It is appropriate the song has two titles as their is a distinct change in the middle when Win takes over on vocals and the tempo of the song slows down and becomes much darker. This song shows the maturity of the band as they try something more complex.
Ocean of Noise - With a title like Ocean of Noise you would expect a loud song, but this is one of the most relaxing songs on the album.
The Well and the Lighthouse - A more upbeat song that sounds like it is off of Funeral. For some reason the lyric "the lions and the lambs ain't sleepin' yet" keeps getting stuck in my head.
Building Downtown (Antichrist Television) - Heavy title equals heavy lyrics. This is my favourite song of the album but also the most frightening one. It deals with a guy who is asking God for a daughter that will get famous because he doesn't want to work in a building downtown. Musically it is a very catchy song.
Windowsill - Another dark song listing of a long lists of 'I don't wants'. It reminds me of God by John Lennon and God Part II. It lists everything from not wanting to live in America anymore to not fighting in the holy war. A very politically charged song.
No Cars Go - This song was originally released on their EP from 2003. While the newly recorded version is amazing I'm not a huge fan of bands re-using songs. If I didn't have the Arcade Fire EP this would most likely be my favourite song on the album. The addition of the Hungarian church choir is great.
My Body Is a Cage - weird name, but great song. A unique song to close the album off with. Once again another haunting song lyrically. It also uses the pipe organ giving it a Gothic haunting Beauty In the Beast type sound. A strong finish to a strong album.
Black Mirror 4
Keep the Car Running 5
Neon Bible 3
Black Wave/Bad Vibrations 4
Ocean of Noise 4
The Well and the Lighthouse 4
Building Downtown 5
No Cars Go 4.5
My Body Is a Cage 4
Final rating: 4.3/5