Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Arcade Fire

This is all rather sad. A couple of years ago, the Arcade Fire were the band flying higher than any other. Their debut album, “Funeral”, had garnered the sort of critical acclaim even the likes of Muse can only dream of, Win Butler and Regine Chassagne were the new golden couple of rock and everyone who mattered was drooling over their eccentric live performances.

Now, not only has second album “Neon Bible” proved to be a bit of a damp squib, but rumours are rife that the band will split after this tour. In which case, it saddens me to say that, if this really is their penultimate UK show, it is a little bit disappointing.

Part of that disappointment is, I am sure, due to the expectation. After all, when you have been told several hundred times that you have to see a particular act, you anticipate something a bit special. Another part of it may, indeed, be a sense of ennui on the part of the performers, because this show seems to lack some of the fabled energy of a classic Arctic Fire set. Yes, we get the odd bit of random behaviour. Certainly instruments get swapped between the band members with rare abandon. And there can be no doubt that Butler is prepared to suffer for his art – witness the strapping on his hands needed to endure the mandolin strumming on “Keep The Car Running”.

The simple fact is, though, that the songs from the new album cannot stand up to those from the first one. For every “Neighborhood #2 (Laika)” or “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” there’s a “No Cars Go” or “Black Mirror” simply struggling to keep up. Indeed, the fact that they end with a run of four songs from “Funeral”, including the superb closing couplet of “Rebellion (Lies)” and “Wake Up” indicates that, just maybe, this is a band who don’t believe they can move on any more.


Post a Comment

<< Home