I pre-ordered the new Arcade Fire album, Reflektor, and it released on October 28. Between the first event and the second, I heard the first single off of it, the title track, and it sort of…gave me pause. The new album is produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and has a much different sound from their previous efforts.
I was nervous about this one, and I put off listening to it until earlier this week. That initial listen was not good. Still, I’ve liked their other albums, so it deserved another listen, which it got yesterday. That second listen was better, but still not great.
Sure, there’s the fact that the album is more “dance-y” than previous ones, an aesthetic I don’t usually much go for (though I’ve listened to a lot of the new Janelle Monae album). And that sound, for me, kind of struggles with the bombast of the Arcade Fire. But even if one could remove that element, the bombast is…well, it’s pretty goddamn bombastic, even for a band that released “Wake Up”. Each song is 27 miles long and realy goes full tilt in every way, looking to establish its importance through sheer brute force. One would think that the odd production would lighten the mood a bit, it only underlines and bolds the pomposity.
Now, I admire a band that wants to try new stuff, and sometimes that stuff isn’t going to work for all listeners. In my case, dance music isn’t what I’m looking to get when I listen to Arcade Fire and Arcade Fire isn’t what I want to listen to when I want dance music. But beyond that, when the album ended and a different Arcade Fire album came on, I found that tedious after a bit as well. Maybe it was the fact that I’d just listened to an album of theirs that was longer than many military stints, or maybe there’s really just only so much Arcade Fire I need.