|RICHARD REED PARRY|
Partially put together in a Caribbean castle, the band experimented with tribal drum loops in the early stages of several songs' formation, jamming for hours at a time in various remote postings. A number of the tracks were also recorded live in the band's Montreal studio with up to eleven people playing (including congas and saxophones) to create the most organic energy possible.
Lead single, title track, and album opener 'Reflektor' is a flagship tune and statement of intent. Grooving through seven minutes of vamping, saxophone tinged neo-disco, the band deals with some heady philosophy whilst riding an ocean of sound that peaks and troughs though all manner of states, before David Bowie himself appears to add some sensational layered backing vocals.
From the very beginning, this album sets itself up as being huge. It continues to operate in this manner, ebbing and flowing through various states and moods like a sweaty house band in some tropical club, drawing the listener in and locking into rhythms before breaking into longer strides or tighter steps. The relationship of tension and release throughout the record is commendable and easily noted in tracks like the subsequent single 'Here Comes The Night Time', a funky slow dance/tropical frenzy number sporting a delightful promotional video from none other than Roman Coppola. The track is reprised at the beginning of the album's second half in a guise that resembles the band's previous material circa 'Neon Bible' (2007). 'Normal Person' bears some interestingly Jonny Greenwood-esque lead guitar work, while vocalist Win Butler muses on the state of normality and what it costs to blend in sometimes. As a continuous whole, there's plenty of bopping and thrashing interludes between classifiable tracks to keep listeners on their toes as to where the band is going to head next.
'Reflektor' is an inspired and satisfying fourth release from a band refusing to rest on their laurels.
'Reflektor' is an inspired and satisfying fourth release from a band refusing to rest on their laurels. While it is definitely a long one, it's a rewarding and illuminating ride full of twists and turns. This may be the year's most surprising party album, and I eagerly await an announcement of headline shows to see just how Arcade Fire plan on tackling their dense new cuts. As Daft Punk demonstrated earlier in the year - disco is back, and we're going to have to come to terms with it one way or another.