Arcade Fire Review: ‘Reflektor’

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire Arcade Fire’s latest album, Reflektor, hit the shelves back in October 2013. Its since had great commercial success. This is the fourth album for the popular Montreal based indie rock band. This band has developed and matured a lot since releasing their self-titled EP back in 2003. They have made a big name for themselves as a folk/indie band, bringing several instruments and elements to their music. The group consists of five main members, but has worked with several musicians in the past. Lead singer, Win Butler, founded the band with previous member John Deu.

The most impressive thing about these musicians is their dedication to learning and advancing as a band. Unlike a lot of bands, no two albums or songs sound the same.

Breaking down the band’s albums, their second was the well-received album Funeral of 2004. This album is on the folksy side, back when the band was young and running around the streets of Mile End, Montreal. The band added more piano than their previous EP and created a number of powerful ballads. This album is where they got their first taste of fame and it only grew from there.

Neon Bible came next in 2007 after several years of touring. The album was recorded in an old church the band purchased in Quebec. The Church came with a functioning organ which was featured on several songs on the album, including its first single Intervention. In this album the band explores with more classical instruments and create their darkest album yet.

The Suburbs is probably their most popular record to date. Released in 2010, this album immediately exploded with airplay and great reviews. They performed at the 2011 Grammys before winning one of their three nominated awards for Album of the Year. The album won several other awards including a BRIT Award for Best International Album. Critics pointed out that this album seemed more polished than the others and the band worked with an orchestra on a number of songs.

The latest album is Reflektor. Arcade Fire brings more electronic elements to this album than ever before. In December of 2012 the band’s manager announced that the band would be working with well know artist James Murphy from the popular electronic band LCD Soundsystem. The bands first single, Reflektor, (complete with a David Bowie cameo) was released with mixed reviews. Fans were unsure how to feel about the new sound, and a lot of people accused them of crowd pleasing and only making electronic music to keep up with the times and trends. However, the band set out to make a dance record for their love of dance music. The band stuck to their roots with a few rock songs, but a majority of the songs are drum machine and synthesizer heavy. They even recorded and tour with Haitian drummers. The main keyboardist of the band, Win’s brother William Butler, (along with Owen Pallet) created the scored for the Spike Jonze 2013 movie Her. They were later nominated for Best Original Score at the 86th Academy Awards, which incorporated several songs from the new album. Reflektor also won the 2014 Juno Award for Album of the Year.

Arcade Fire Review: Reflektor
Arcade Fire performs at Webster Bank Arena

After the release, the band set out on the Reflektor Tour, and they asked their fans to either dress fancy or in costume, and a lot people participated. The band opens with a few DJs to keep with the dance party theme of the night. During those sets, the band member like to put on masks and run through the crowd. This band loves to connect with fans. Multiple times during the show members can be seen picking up phones from the crowd and taking selfies. They also allow certain fans on stage and are never shy to take a photo or sign an autograph. They start their set with Reflektor by wearing their iconic paper mache masks, thanking the crowd for dressing up with them. Keeping with the album theme, the whole show is highly illuminated and flashy. This band certainly knows its showmanship, incorporating a number of acts during the event, including a shining reflective man and a mock band.

It is amazing to see a band love what they do, and remain grateful over the years to their fans no matter how big they get. Although they still have the second half of Reflektor Tour the band is still constantly making music and shows no sign of slowing down. It will be intriguing to see how they continue to develop over the years. There is certainly no doubt that no matter which direction the bands takes Arcade Fire will deliver.

By Morgan Louchen

Arcade Fire