On Funeral, The Arcade Fire turned these tales of heartbreak, death, and love into catchy, infectious pop songs. Win's vocals are a combination of Frank Black and Thom Yorke, having fun while still obtaining intensely high leverage, why the backing instruments create a sound scape My Bloody Valentine would envy.
Funeral opens with a 4 song cycle called "Neighborhood", "Laika" the second track is the highlight here. It's pounding drumbeat and accordion driven melody really give it a very original yet catchy feel. Win's vocals are very reminiscent of Isaac's from Modest Mouse. "Tunnels" the opener of the saga has a very dream like intro with pianos and strings that eventually breaks into a very danceable and catchy pop song when the synths and guitar exploded towards the end of the song. Track 3 and 4 of the "Neighborhood" are not as exceptional as the 2 tracks before them but they do present different musical styles in comparison to the "Laika" and "Tunnels".
After the "Neighborhood" saga, we get to what in my opinion is the most powerful song on the cd "Crown of Love" This song has a very simple piano intro and then some elegant strings to back it up in the later parts of it. Also in my opinion this is the peak of the lyrics with the lines "the only thing you keep changing is your name". The chorus is an incredible emotional experience and is great to sing along to. Towards the end of the song the synth comes in as the rest of the instruments speed up turning "Crown of Love" into an emotional dance melody. "Wake Up" the next track has some excellent singing but in my opinion is not a great follow up to "Crown of Love" which draws us into a very emotional state. In my opinion "Wake Up" is the weak point of the album, yet it does change the sadness of "Crown of Love" into a kind of pleasant mood for the listener. "Haiti" is the first track to feature Chassange on lead vocals, it is kind of a pleasant acoustic and key driven song, which later breaks into a very enjoyable xylophone I think? Part. I'm not sure what instrument is used by it sounds like a xylophone in my opinion.
"Rebellion (Lies)" is the 2nd best track on this album; I believe many people would enjoy this more than "Crown of Love" because of my emotional bias to "Crown of Love". But I will say this song rivals "Crown of Love" for best song of the album, it is just so infectiously catchy, the chorus "Every time you close your eyes" is brilliant as is the build up to it. I really think this is the song that defines what the band is trying to do musically. The closer "In the Back Seat" is not phenomenal l but is still a great closer to a great album.
All in all, The Arcade Fire's major label debut is a contender for the best album of the year. While it may not be the most intelligent, or the most complex cd of the year, it is one of those cds that consists of tons great songs that are fun to listen to. I can see an Arcade Fire concert being almost similar to a Flaming Lips concert, everybody just being happy and celebrating life. In my opinion with this album The Arcade Fire does that, celebrates the act the people they care about still being around and really pushing you to do the same.