Monday, December 18, 2017

Review: Arcade Fire's 'Reflektor' showcases the band's classic staying power with a new flair

Ian Cohen, one of my favorite music journalists, tweeted the day Arcade Fire's first song off the new album leaked, "Oh right, Arcade Fire are like my favorite band sorta ever. Nice to get reminded every three years or so." I'm with him. Though Arcade Fire seems to disappear for years after the release of an album, they always come back with surprising and exciting vigor. It makes me feel all fuzzy inside to know that there actually are bands from my generation that will be referred to when comparing new bands to "the classics."

If you like hype, it isn't too late to jump on this bandwagon. Though Reflektor sounds fuller when you are able to appreciate it in comparison with their earlier work, newbies can enjoy it just the same. Album of the Year Grammy winner The Suburbs was a straightforward classic rock album that played very much on the idea of suburbia and its corresponding emotional, stark eeriness. Reflektor roams into percussion-heavy, Haitian-inspired tunes, with a little bit of an electronic flair sprinkled in the quiet spots.

The voodoo sound of the new album comes from husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne being influenced heavily by Chassagne's Haitian background and their continuous charity work in Haiti. The album is upbeat but contains pensive and paralyzing moments of seriousness, such as Here Comes the Night Time II and Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice). There is a sense of nostalgia that flows throughout the album as a result of this thoughtful incorporation of Haitian and reggae culture.

Butler and Chassagne sing together with incomparable charisma. Butler has a strong voice with strained sensitivity, while Chassagne's is delicate and sassy. Chassagne, and her elegant verses delivered in French and English, shine on Joan of Arc, and bring a fresh feminine touch to the usually male-ruled world of rock. The scattered words and verses in French are not new for the band but continue to add a surprising cultural beauty and sophistication.

If you don't know Arcade Fire as of now, you will eventually. They will be around for a very long time simply because they have found a way to make music they love at the same time they induce excitement from arenas full of fans. Reflektor offers dimensions of emotion, musicality and imagination that rightfully establish Arcade Fire as a band who can disappear for years but will haunt listeners for a lifetime.

HANNAH ELLIOTT Robinson High

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