Arcade Fire, Reflektor (Merge)
“Reflektor” isn’t the Arcade Fire’s best album. In fact, it doesn’t best any of the Montreal’ band’s first three efforts. Arcade Fire’s achievement on “Reflektor” is that the band is able to make its weakest record to date and still maintain its position as one of the world’s most exciting rock bands by planting the seed of anticipation.
“Reflektor” is simultaneously a quintessential Arcade Fire album and a, yes, reflection of the time in which it was made. The band’s signatures are here: the cascading crescendos, the religious imagery and the foot-stomping melodies. It’s all pushed through the broad dance-music prism that has permeated nearly ever genre of music today, from rap and rock to pop. The album is tastefully dated, a reflection of both the band and the era from which it was spawned.
A band’s cannon needs texture — hits and misses; experimentation and comfort. “Reflektor” is all of this. By taking chances — by refusing to go the way of bands like Pearl Jam that coast down the same sonic freeway for more than a decade — Arcade Fire has proved that it can put out a solid, if not classic record by expanding on, rather than imitating its past.
The album’s been out less than 24 hours and I’m already curious about what happens next.