Arcade Fire – Afterlife



Regardless of what you think of “Reflektor”, Arcade Fire’s newborn love for synthesizers have pushed them even further away from the guitar driven textures of Funeral and Neon Bible. The dance-friendlier vibe of “Reflektor” and now “Afterlife” has already caused polarized expectations of Reflektor, which is quite understandably since we’re dealing with one of the biggest and most important bands of our generation. Bands in this position are never immune to scrutinizing and it hardly matters whether Arcade Fire would’ve made an album more in line with Funeral or something similar to The Suburbs, opinions and judgments would come flying either way. I for one think it’s refreshing to hear a band that ten years into their career aren’t afraid of exploring new grounds, and doing it in the same respectable way as when U2 left their guitar licks behind for “Zoo Station” or when Bowie left his blue-eyed soul in L.A and reinvented himself in Berlin.

In the end, “Afterlife” still feels very much Arcade Fire – dramatic and emotionally charged in its presence, aiming for the same anthemic effect as “Wake Up”, “Keep The Car Running” or “Ready To Start”. And while “Reflektor” and “Afterlife” are filled with the same grand statements that we’ve grown accustomed to, they’ve freed themselves from the “all-or-nothing” intensity often pursued in the past, and in the end, their newfound love for disco and everything Murphy-esque, makes these overblown testimonials surrounded by considerably more easy-going and joyous textures.

And remember, there are bands like New Order that, regardless of guitars or synthesizers, never made a bad record. So far, this statement holds just as true for Arcade Fire as for New Order, and I’m fairly certain it will hold up even after Tuesday.

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