Arcade Fire: "The Suburbs" Music Review

8/14/2010 Posted by Admin

Arcade Fire: "The Suburbs"

Music Review

By our guest blogger, Megan O'Malley

Arcade Fire isn’t a band that rapidly fires out albums to appease their fan base’s need for new music. Instead, they take their time. It’s been three years since “Neon Bible” was released. Their newest work “The Suburbs” is a delicately nuanced piece of work devoted to the mind-numbing aspects of suburban living.

The songs are softer sounding--“The Suburbs” is not as grandiose as Arcade Fire’s previous works. It is a more mature sound but it doesn’t push fans away.  Instead, they will appreciate the subtle details that make Arcade Fire songs so complex and beautiful. This is not to say they have lost their touch. Pieces like “Ready to Start” have that same hook and build up that signify their particular brand of music. As does “Month of May,” but here an overt Ramones influence can be heard. The result is a fun melding of two styles that proves to be one of the best songs on the album.

Arcade Fire has always used numerous instruments to create their music, voices included. Lead singer Win Butler has perfected the use of his voice to compliment the music they create. This can be heard in songs such as “Rococco.” In here it not only adds an extra dimension to their music but creates a more rounded sound to an already complex song. Yet it’s not overbearing – it’s catchy and beautiful. Few groups can rival the intricately orchestrated sound that Arcade Fire works so hard to create.

There has always been a melancholy sound that permeates Arcade Fire albums. “The Suburbs” has a feel of resigned hopelessness. This can really be heard on the songs “City with No Children” and “Half Light I.” It’s not like listening to The Cure though. Arcade Fire’s downhearted feel gets built-up and crashed down in crescendos throughout their entire library of work. The violin adds to the alienated feel but also gives their works an ethereal sound.

“The Suburbs” is a strong piece of work. There are no real weak spots and the more it’s listened to the more the songs grow, in sound and spirit. This is album is more nuanced and the last few songs are stripped down and less orchestrated. The album is long compared to their earlier albums, giving listeners 16 tracks to fall in love with. Arcade Fire has succeeded in giving their fans something to fawn over for the next few years until they decide to release their next album.

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