Arcade Fire cuts loose on Reflektor
Arcade Fire has long been known for its ornate baroque-rock grandeur, but Reflektor finds the beloved Montreal ensemble finally shedding some of its seriousness in order to cut loose and venture out onto the dance floor.
The album’s best moments come when the group embraces a new sonic palette of twinkling synths and hip-shaking rhythms. The opening title track is an addictively slinky groove that swells over the course of seven and a half breathless minutes, incorporating pattering congas, blaring horns, and even an over-before-you-know-it cameo from David Bowie. The excellence continues with eclectic cuts like the quirky dub experiment “Flashbulb Eyes” and the toe-tapping “Here Comes the Night Time”, while the second-half highlight “Afterlife” effectively combines Arcade Fire’s newfound fondness for disco with its tendency for cinematic grandeur. Reflektor was coproduced by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, and his influence shines through.
Unfortunately, the double LP loses some of its sparkle over the course of its 75-minute runtime, which is twice as long as it needs to be. Songs like the space-folk ballad “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” and the pedestrian “Joan of Arc” stretch on far too long, while the cookie-cutter glam boogie of “Normal Person” sounds like the work of a sub-standard bar band.
With some judicious editing, Reflektor could have been a triumph—or at least a hell of a lot of fun. But at least we’ve now got a handful of stellar new options for the next time we’re putting together a party playlist.
Nov 16, 2013 at 8:44pm
I can't get enough of We Exist and It's Never Over but as you say, a few of the songs are truly meh.
I still exist in CD listening mode and I'd wished they'd just crammed it all into one CD. The two songs I worship are on opposing discs.