New Music Review: Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

As one of the top acts in the indie rock circuit for the past 5 years, it’s no surprise that Arcade Fire‘s latest studio album, The Suburbs, was one of the most anticipated albums of the year.  Fans were given a small dose of what the album consisted of with the release of two singles, The Suburbs and Ready To Start a few months before the album was officially released.  The group is fronted by the married duo of Win Butler and Regine Chassagne who both take on the duties of carrying lead vocals back and forth and sometimes together, throughout this new album.

This new album begins with the title track, The Suburbs, a laid-back, country romp that indicates the group is venturing into some slightly unchartered territory.  The second, and perhaps more popular single, Ready To Start is vintage Arcade Fire. Brooding and pulsing with a dark atmosphere, the line “If I was scared, I would…If I was yours, I’m not” suits the song’s atmosphere to a tee.

The album continues on with an assortment of songs that lend themselves to a few different genres, although all the while staying true to their own sound.  Modern Man is a guitar and drum driven piece, with an interesting off-beat break that gives the song an interesting identity. Rococo follows the theme of Modern Man lyrically, but is quite a contrast in style of music.  This song is reminiscent in some ways to Haiti from Arcade Fire‘s debut album, Funeral. Rococo is definitely one of the stand-out pieces on the album, in my opinion.

The middle of the album takes a bit of lull, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because songs like Month Of May and City With No Children liven it up a little.  On the other hand, Half Light I and Suburban War are a little too long for my liking, and lack some excitement or, some kind of hook to keep my attention.  They aren’t horrible songs by any means, but they are definitely not my favourite.

The album finishes off decently with songs such as Deep Blue, We Used To Wait, and Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), the latter of which is sung in full by Regine Chassagne and carries a heavy 80’s Blondie vibe.  This is one of my favourite songs on the album.

Overall, I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed with the album because it does carry it’s own quite well; however, I also wouldn’t say I’m blown away by it.  I enjoy the different sounds Arcade Fire is experimenting with, I just feel that this album could have quite easily have been a 12-song album as opposed to a 16-song album.  Perhaps due to it’s hype and anticipation, I was expecting something a little more from them, not something so different.

I’d rate this album a 3.5 out of 5.

I’m curious to hear what other readers think about the new album! Please feel free to share!


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~ by whet_hopped on August 12, 2010.

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