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Album Review
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible Album Cover

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

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8.7
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
ARCADE FIRE - Neon Bible

When you release a debut album like Arcade Fire did, follow-up expectations are raised to astronomical measures. What is going to be their encore? Did they peak too soon? These are a few questions that Arcade Fire had to face while recording the follow-up to their spectacular debut, 2004’s Funeral. Three years later, anticipation is high for the release of Neon Bible, their second full length on Merge Records. Produced by the band, Bible flows without a glitch through all eleven offerings, making smooth transitions between tracks and never disrupting the vibe being produced.

The compositions of each song from Win Butler and company remain stellar, and it’s an auditory treat to the ears to hear how beautifully meshed the variety of instruments are. Along with the usual guitar, drums, and bass, the piano, violin, viola, double bass, xylophone, keyboard, French horn, accordion, hurdy-gurdy and harp all make appearances on the album. Having a rather large band ( a total of seven members – Butler, Régine Chassagne, Richard Reed Parry, William Butler, Tim Kingsbury, Sarah Neufeld and Jeremy Gara) definitely helps when trying to achieve such a sound.

Neon Bible is a dark, gothic (not Hot Topic “gothic” mind you) album that touches on many topics. “Black Mirror” begins the album like a quiet storm. You hear the wind rustling up and the guitar jangles throughout the calm opening verse. Then the storm hits as the keys and drums pick up. “Keep The Car Running” is an upbeat number that’ll liven up your pulse. The title track is a bleak, short tune that plods its way through. The highlight of the album comes via pipe organ, on the riveting “Intervention.” You’ll want to rise up to your feet and sing hallelujahs like you’re in church when Butler and his band really go all out towards the end. “Black Wave/Bad Vibrations” is an interesting track, as the first minute and a half features Chassagne leading on vocals backed by a lighthearted vibe. A slight pause and Butler takes over vocals and the music takes a sharp turn to a darker, haunting sound.

“(Antichrist Television Blues)” is a peppy, folky song about asking God to include one into his plan and to give him a sign. “No Cars Go,” which originally appeared on the band’s self-released EP in 2003, gets a tune up here with more arrangements added. The contrast between Butler’s mellow voice and Chassagne’s high shrill creates a unique harmony, while the gang vocals and the entrancing musical work make this a fun sing-along track. The album closes with the slow “My Body Is A Cage,” where Butler meekly sings while the pipe organ begins to make its presence known. The final two and a half minutes are very enthralling as Butler exclaims “Set my spirit free/set my body free!” which brings Bible to a climatic finish.

When thinking of the flaws of Bible, one word comes to mind: excess. While having such a nice array of different instruments is great for the majority of the album, at times it’s just too much. Butler is battling these over dynamic sounds just have his voice heard. Production is what keeps Neon Bible at being just a really good record, rather than a great record.

Criticisms aside, the majority of hipsters will eat this up. If you were expecting another Funeral, you better wake up then, Peter Pan, because you are living in a fantasy land. Arcade Fire have leap-frogged the sophomore slump with their latest chapter in their still-young promising career. Put your faith in the Neon Bible.
Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Black Mirror
2. Keep the Car Running
3. Neon Bible
4. Intervention
5. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
6. Ocean of Noise
7. The Well and the Lighthouse
8. (Antichrist Television Blues)
9. Windowsill
10. No Cars Go
11. My Body Is a Cage
Produced by: Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire are:
Win Butler
Régine Chassagne
Richard Reed Parry
William Butler
Tim Kingsbury
Sarah Neufeld
Jeremy Gara
Owen Pallett

Release Date: March 6, 2007
Record Label: Merge Records
Official Site; Official Myspace
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 44
10:41 PM on 03/05/07
#2
Rich Duncan
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Great review Drew. I never really got into the band, but I think I might give this album a shot.
11:04 PM on 03/05/07
#3
Domenic182
probably been here longer than you
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Casey and I are going to get this tomorrow
and dammit, we're gonna like it.
11:32 PM on 03/05/07
#4
karmapolicia
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Great review Drew. I strongly agree with you on many levels, except for the "excess" part. In my opinion, the array of instruments wasn't too much. It's what makes this album so definitive. It gives off such a strong statement, whether heard the first or hundreth time around. Win takes on every instrument in their arsenal and just dominates it with his solid lines and uplifting phrases. Régine does double duty and does a wonderful job as well. And although production wasnt top notch, keep in mind that the band did it themselves (maybe with a little help here and there), but nonetheless compared to other bands out there, producing an album by themselves with the material they had written for this record, it's just incredible.

No sophmore slump here, just one of my contenders for album of the year. Again, really great review Drew. Everyone needs to pick this album up!
11:36 PM on 03/05/07
#5
captainamazing4
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quite a wonderful album if i do say so myself. this review is pretty much on the dot with everything :]
01:43 AM on 03/06/07
#6
kbauer
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Another great review Drew, we may strongly disagree about Dwade, but I strongly agree with you on music lol. I actually forgot that this was going to be released this week because Im so amped for Lovedrug and House of Fools but I'll be picking this up when I get the money, Arcade Fire is one of the most talented bands out there and Im expecting this release to cram them up into my favorite bands section.
02:47 AM on 03/06/07
#7
bikescene
No, you're a turd sandwich.
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Sweet review.

I've never really been a huge fan but the new version of 'No Cars Go' is actually one of the best songs of all time.
04:39 AM on 03/06/07
#8
WarpSpeedChewy
You know Elvis had a twin brother?
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Great review. I love that last line.
05:39 AM on 03/06/07
#9
...generic...
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Hey drew way to get past that writers block. That review was what I needed to start my day off right!
06:25 AM on 03/06/07
Tom Good
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awesome review. To tell you the truth I didn't get into their last album until after a bunch of listens. I will see if this takes as long to get into or if it's immediately gratifying
06:45 AM on 03/06/07
tbsunday14
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i am so GD excited.
08:47 AM on 03/06/07
ironlionOROKU
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I am going to see them for a third time on May 5th when they come to Philly.

I still like the version of No Cars Go off the EP more than the one on Neon.
09:05 AM on 03/06/07
bradyreier
http://twitter.com/bradyreier
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i loooove this album. good review drew.
09:10 AM on 03/06/07
my_plasticxyou
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thanks for waking me up from my collegiate stupor with your fantastic review.
10:02 AM on 03/06/07
FUCKDIRTYWIPES
Kicking it middle school
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good review but this album is better than an 87.

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