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The Arcade Fire - Funeral (1 Viewer)

moonty

Senior Member
Here's a review I wrote of an album that is probably going to make my top five for 2004 -- if you haven't heard it, definitely give it a listen.

--

The Arcade Fire
Funeral
2004

Funeral, the debut full-length release of Canadian band The Arcade Fire, captivates from the first notes of "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)." The combination of an ultimately repetetive drum beat with a piano, adding to the almost reluctant feeling of the piece. The soothing background vocals topped by Win Butler's almost mysterious presence contribute heavily to the first track, creating inescapable premonitions of greatness for the album.

The second track, "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)," maintains the feeling of repetition the drums provide, adding an air of certainty to The Arcade Fire's unmatchable style. "Une Année Sans Lumière" starts in the way the first two tracks have -- fairly simply. As the song progresses, it builds into a nearly overwhelming mass, with a choppy, distorted guitar splayed across the musical canvas, perfectly foreshadowing the coming track.

The musical diversity of The Arcade Fire is made evident in "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)," bells jumping over the wall of guitar and the once-again repetitive drums that are, this time, jumping from ear to ear. The sounds of tea kettles complaining of water boiling inside them on "Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)" are perfectly complimented by tremulous flutes and violins. Funeral is obviously not an album with traditional instrumentation, rather, it is an album that is not afraid to explore many of the orchestral instruments which are so often overlooked.

Though the elements of most of the songs on Funeral are basically the same -- repetitive drums, a soft intro seguing into a stronger, more bold piece, Butler's captivating vocal style, and a near-hidden melody, The Arcade Fire manages to keep each track interesting. The waltz "Crown of Love" displays this musical attitude with a romantic charm, stepping away from the traditional beat structure that has dominated the album before jumping into a four-beat percussion structure under a nine-beat string section in what is perhaps the most musically intense point on the album.

The lyrics on Funeral are strong, but not easily noticeable in most tracks. The greatest exception to this is the closing track, "In the Back Seat," fronted by Butler's wife, Régine Chassagne. Her mesmerizing voice echoes out, "My family tree's / losing all its leaves, / crashing towards the driver's seat, / the lightning bolt made enough heat / to melt the street beneath your feet." Though simple, the lyrics are packed with meaning and feeling, a feat not often accomplished by most lyricists, let alone in a debut album.

Having produced what is easily one of the most successful debuts for any band in recent times, The Arcade Fire has more than enough potential to sweep the music world off of its feet, sending it in directions that even the dreamers have never dreamt.

Matthew Montgomery
 

swing_it_away

Senior Member
A guy I know burned me their CD a couple weeks ago. I'm not sure with it being one of my top albums of 2004, but it was good. Knowing it was a debut album makes it more impressive. It was pretty cool to read your review.
 
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