Arcade Fire ‘reflekting’ old sound
“Reflektor,” Arcade Fire’s fourth studio album released Oct. 29, has a rock sound reflective of their second album, “Neon Bible.”
The band’s first and third albums, “Funeral” and “The Suburbs” had a softer element that helped the band find their place in the indie-rock genre. This distinctive indie-rock sound led them to win album of the year at the Grammys in 2010 for “The Suburbs.”
“Reflektor” has a little bit of disco, reggae and hard rock in attempt to pull in larger audiences. These new elements may give them a seemingly new sound, but their overwhelmingly similar lyrics and underlying rhythms give this album a familiar feel that is truly reflective of their older music.
Their attempt to reach broader audiences with this album can be seen through their recruitment of James Murphy of LCD Soundsytem whose influence can be heard in the more dance-able moments in their tracks.
The band also aired a 30 minute special, “Here Comes the Night Time,” on NBC following their performance on Saturday Night Live September 28 which featured three of their new songs, some extravagant costumes and a few celebrities including Michael Cera, Zach Galifanakis and Bill Hader who added some comedic scenes into the special.
All of this did help give the band a somewhat new image, but existing fans will notice that their sound and their message has not changed nearly as much as their image has.
“Reflektor,” the first track, is very reminiscent of the rock elements seen mostly in “Neon Bible” and this harder rock sound is pushed even further in “Normal Person” and “Joan of Arc.” Their softer, more indie side can still be seen in “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” and “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus).”
Though quite a few of the songs are trying to give a new, more dance-able beat, their underlying themes about suburbia, love, and particularly Haiti, is still apparent.
Despite this being their longest album yet, and a having a few slow moments, the overall flow of “Reflektor” is fulfilling.
Arcade Fire released “Reflektor” with a lot of elements that should give them a broader audience, but their indie-rock element remains the same.
Maybe they’re not supposed to expand. Maybe they’re supposed to keep doing their Arcade Fire-thing: making interactive music videos and writing rock anthems about, love, suburbia, Haiti and Greek mythology for their loyal fans. If that’s all they need to do, “Reflektor” is a definite success. If not, the music charts will tell their fate.
Samantha Giedris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.