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Album Review: Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

4 min read

I have to admit that I was a little hesitant about Arcade Fire’s latest offering, The Suburbs. I have never really had any inclination to becoming part of the Canadian indie groups fan-base, particularly after a rude encounter with the ginger locked string maestro, Richard Reed Parry, back in 2006 rather scarred my opinion of the act.

ArcadeFireTheSuburbsHowever, after listening to and reviewing the albums first single We Used To Wait last week, I will hold my hand up high and say that I am on my way to becoming quite the Arcade Fire fan. I can say that even more so now after hearing the parent record of that single, The Suburbs, which also saw its emergence into the world of alternative indie over the past week.

The Suburbs is an enthralling third album for Arcade Fire who really know how to create great songs that are not only thought provoking and teeming with hooks that come at you from all directions but also tracks that are well worthy of the attention that the material and the band generates. The Suburbs is an impressive new collection for the Montreal band who have had a successful career thus far and that show no signs of slowing down with this latest record which has this week made its way to the Number 1 spot in the US charts.

The album opens with the title track, The Suburbs. Its a great start to the record with a score of old time western saloon bar piano tinkerings.

The lead single off the album, We Used To Wait, is the obvious highlight when it comes to masterful and impeccable additions to the album. The track feels almost destined to be the bands next chart topper and proves to be one of the groups most progressively ambitious releases.

The bands combined ability to play almost every instrument under the sun is utilized on the album and the use of the bands talents are heard particularly on Empty Room which ignites an explosive surge of chaos from start to end.

We get a double dose of a few tracks on the album with two part pairings of three additions on The Suburbs with the most notable being the eclectic Half Light I and Half Light II (No Celebration). Both sound almost worlds apart yet fit together like the perfect puzzle pieces. While the latter half is a fairground ride of genres, tempos and contains a spectacular array of instruments that crash together delicately, Half Light I sounds like an interlude which would have easily rivaled the theme song to Little Miss Sunshine.

Wandering if the quality will dip the further I get through the record there is a reassurance with every song that that is just not going to happen. Each song on The Suburbs sounds like the most precise detail has been applied and every aspect of the tracks has been scrutinized to absolute perfection.

Modern Man is a bass heavy number with a dark and slightly dated feel to it. This one really sticks with you and hits the spot. The vocals are almost haunting in their delivery and the deep tone is cast over a bluesy, almost Fleetwood Mac style rhythm.

Month of May brings the 60’s back to life with a guitar riff happy track layered with echoed and gravely vocals.

Arcade Fire are definitely a band that has grown in the time between The Suburbs and their last offering, Neon Bible, and with some UK dates penciled into the calendar for later in the year, The Suburbs is a record that carries the potential of sounding truly epic within a live setting.

The band have clearly tapped into all the things that they did so well in their first two attempts in the mainstream market to create the absorbing additions to the The Suburbs. The bands first two records provided us with a hint of what this act were about and what they were capable of but with The Suburbs, Arcade Fire have just become a whole lot more interesting.

Buy ‘Arcade Fire – The Suburbs’ from Amazon