Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Havin' church with the Arcade Fire

Some exciting new from MTV.com: Not only has Canadian rock band Arcade Fire bought their own church, but it work on their second full-length album is set to begin this fall.


For those who aren't in the know, Arcade Fire is, quite simply, the most exciting new rock band in ages. I reviewed their debut album, Funeral, at Reveal, and also included them in my Best of 2004 list. I stand by most of what I wrote in the review, but, as I've spent more and more time with the album, I'm beginning to see that my slight criticism of the album was a bit premature. I initially wrote that the album is too bleak and despairing to listen to frequently, but the album has come to affect me in the same way that U2's Pop affects me. The more I listen, the more I can hear undercurrents of dialogue with the Divine bubbling beneath the surface of these songs; take, for example, "Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)," a song that wrestles with the silence of God just as passionately as Bono's "Wake Up Dead Man," even if it never mentions the Deity by name. And then there's the exclamation of Christ's name in "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)," a line that could be interpreted as a blasphemy, but is more likely a desperate plea for help, directed to the only One who can possibly offer us any help.

If anything, Funeral goes even farther than Pop does. While the U2 album is marked primarily by despair and by dissatisfaction with the status quo, Funeral is an album of action, an album of defiance, an album that actively searches for an answer to the problems of pain and sin. For me, it's probably the more inspiring of the two; even if it arrives at very few answers, the restlessness of the songs leads to soul-searching, catharsis, and an end to complacency.

And, really, what more could one ask for from a rock record?

2 Comments:

Blogger David said...

Cool that you're still digging it so much. Funeral is definately one of my favorite albums ever, possibly in my top 10. It's nice to see that its getting at least some of the exposure it deserves.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Josh Hurst said...

It's quickly climbing into my all-time favorites list, as well. It's such a fiery, mysterious recording... it gets better and better with every spin. I haven't been so excited for a follow-up album since... well, probably the last Joe Henry album. (I'm still waiting on that one, by the way.)

8:51 AM  

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