Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Arcade Fire
Merge Records

Oh yeah, THIS is why I love music. I had forgotten for a little while. I had forgotten that uncanny way that a piece of music can encapsualte my very heart, and provide us all the "great escape" from this imperfect world. I mean, that's one of the main reasons why I got into music from the beginning. I had discovered it's power. When a band can remind me of this fact, I am, at the very least, in their debt. My new best friends from Canada, The Arcade Fire, have done this for me.

"Funeral" is an unbelievably comforting, and simply wonderful masterpiece. This, the bands debut album is fueled by notions of romance, loss, sadness, and ecstasy. Oddly enough, many of the band's family members passed away during the making of the album, and you can sense the feelings of mourning and transition buried beneath the musical experimentation of the record. As I understand, The band spent much of the recording time (9 out of 10 tracks, I believe) holed up in a snowed-in house, and when made aware of that fact, it kind of adds to the album's depth, in a way.

I can already forsee major comparisons to Interpol. To a certain extent, I could see that. The same way Interpol borrows heavily from Joy Division (in tone), is also evident in the compostion of most of The Arcade Fire's more memorable songs. However, I see them having more in common with Broken Social Scene. The way that all of the songs seem to build into other things, and moments of high energy resemble eachother as well. Sure the aesthetic isn't always there, but the use of vocals, and the building arrangements are. In any case, all of these labels are confounding, simply because the music is far more unique than a series of comparisons can describe.

Much of the album is taken up by "Neighborhood" songs. These songs range in feeling from wide-eyed romanticism to passionate self-defense and paranoia, to pure sadness.

"...and if the snow buries my, my neighborhood. And if my parents are crying then I'll dig a tunnel from my window to yours, yeah a tunnel from my window to yours."~ "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"

These tracks are the crux on which the first half of the album swings. They remain, in my eyes, the most interesting tracks on the album. Of course, the more I listen, the more I discover, so that could change any minute, really.

The album is incerdibly depressing, but manages to remain an uplifting experience at the same time. It's overall arrangement is really something to marvel at, as it never seems to miss a step with it's pacing, and overall tone. I urge everyone reading this to buy this album as soon as possible. I, honestly have not done it justice with this review. How can I review this? Who am I to do so? I can best describe the experience of listening to "Funeral" as being similar to opening the most wonderful Christmas gift. The gift, for me, is undoubtedly the best album of the year.

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