Review Summary: A vial of hope and a vial of pain. . .6 of 6 thought this review was well written
The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Review by Clumpy
This record made me buy an iPod.
Every morning before I depart for my warehouse job I prepare my music for the following day. Stuck in the stone age of portable CD players and jackets full of discs, I look over all of my albums and pick four or five. That's the magic number for a nine-hour shift.
Neon Bible inevitably accompanied me, day after day. While I didn't listen to it daily, the album seemed to bring a sense of warmth and comfort into the daily grind stocking shelves. When the album developed a scratch and skipped towards the end of the eighth track I repented of my procrastination and visited the Circuit City. A good quarter of my last paycheck went into a neat 30GB video iPod. Now my skip-free Neon Bible accompanies me every day whether I bring my CD jacket or not.
The Arcade Fire makes music that resonates with your soul. On this newest release, the ponderously-titled "Neon Bible", every track remains musically lush and full-sounding without straying from the delicate intimacy that made Funeral such a treasured eulogy. The band's indie sensibilities and confidence in their ability to find and cultivate their sound led to their decision to self-produce the album. This is one of the most personal albums I have ever heard.
From melancholy epic opener "Black Mirror" to the mournful, frantic affirmations of "My Body is a Cage", Neon Bible is a cohesive work, full of subtlety and sound. Especially sound. This album is impossibly full. Strings, guitars, drums, accordions, emotional vocal work (primary and background) and, most memorably, a chapel organ fill nearly every second of the running time. Many tracks explode into a glorious whirlwind of melodic sound partway through, like a warm hug in your headphones, only to pull back and repeat. The band wisely keeps the production a little rough around the edges, keeping even the most apocalyptic numbers human and grounded.
Much like the great Eels album Electro-Shock Blues, Neon Bible is darkly life-affirming. Despite the dark themes explored in the music, the album leaves you with a happy optimistic feeling. Even the desperate fear of opener track "Black Mirror" is melodic and epic, wonderfully dissonant and resonant, purely symphonious. Cathartic track "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations" has a wonderfully disharmonic opening, before settling into an epic chorus. Breezier songs like "Antichrist Television Blues" or "Keep the Car Running" keep up a good pace while expanding on their sound. And the expansive gospel-meets-Springsteen sound of "Intervention" is a truly epic experience.
The Arcade Fire plays and performs with an almost spiritual fervor. This is a group that truly believes in their music. If this band does not outsell fellow Canadian corporate rockers Nickelback, there is truly no justice in the world.
A final note: Seeing The Arcade Fire perform "Wake Up" (a song from Funeral) with David Bowie at the Radio City Music Hall in New York was a truly moving experience. The crowd was visibly moved. Scope it on YouTube and understand the effect that true music can have on you.
Visit Clumpy's blog at clumpy.blogspot.com
Please vote if you liked this review. Every time you vote an angel gets its wings.