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Neon Bible

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iTunes Review

Neon Bible is a dystopian work for dystopian times. In the two and a half years since Funeral, their universally beloved debut, Arcade Fire has turned their attention outward rather than in, and they don’t like what they see: bombs, monster waves, water swirling up to the windowsill. “I don’t want to fight in a holy war / I don’t want the salesmen knocking at my door / I don’t want to live in America no more,” sings the expatriate Win Butler, sounding very much like that uber-American, Bruce Springsteen. Like Springsteen, Arcade Fire is willing to risk a little melodrama on their way to sonic grandeur. Luckily, their scruffy indie-orchestral aesthetic (featuring hurdy-gurdy, accordion, layered horns, droning guitars and processed strings, all played with an endearing, disheveled enthusiasm) keeps the bombast from getting too thick. And though the arrangements are busier than ever, the songwriting is actually more disciplined; Neon Bible’s songs are tense and explosive, but they stay away from easy catharsis. The most memorable moments here offer not release, but variations on dread: the sorrowful mariachi horns closing “Ocean of Noise”; a wall of white noise like surf or distant thunder, announcing the queasy, pounding two-chord opener of “Black Mirror.” The exception is “No Cars Go,” an older song that here sounds almost redemptive — a welcome return of the loopy, polyphonic idealism that made Funeral such a blast. Us kids know, indeed.

Customer Reviews

The Naysayers Shall Be Silenced! The Word of the Neon Bible is Upon Thee!

I too was a sinner. Yes fellow heathens, my faith had slipped, for I did not hold out much hope that this young outfit of hooligans and misfits could possibly muster the same intensity, emotion, and Iggy-esque "raw power" a second time 'round. But praise be to God, Jesus, Allah, and Vishu for the Arcade Fire have not led us astray, indeed they have delivered unto us a collection of no less than 11 hymns, spirituals, and gospel tunes to satisfy the mind, body, soul and the holy ghost too! It wasn't all as expected the re-birth and second baptism held more than a few surprises in store… The band has gotten a little progressive in a few arrangements (the titles hint at this as well), often I get the feeling these could have been multi-part songs that have been stitched together (see "Black Wave / Bad Vibrations", "The Well and the Lighthouse"). A few early favorites, "Keep the Car Running" and "Antichrist Television Blues" in particular feature a fantastic Nebraska-era Springsteen influence. Both "Intervention" and "Ocean of Noise" (the latter appearing to be an early fan favorite) have that great Arcade Fire dynamic where the intensity just keeps piling up until exploding in the final ecstasy! The title track, "Neon Bible" is a personal favorite, with a rustic feel, the hum of a neon sign included. It brings to mind "Cold Wind" from the bands Six Feet Under Soundtrack contribution or even the fantastic "Goodnight Boy". Overall I think the songwriting has matured and the lyrics in particular really struck me instantly this time around (see "Intervention" and "Antichrist Television Blues" for first rate examples of this). The addition of some new instrumentation (mandolin, hurdy gurdy, church organ etc.) has expanded the bands sonic palette, but tastefully so (nothing thrown in just for its own sake). The only questionable mark I have on this album is, why the re-recording of "No Cars Go", from the bands debut EP?? Highly recommended fantastic 2nd LP. Do yourself a favor and purchase this, and be sure to catch this band live whenever you can, I guarantee you will not be disappointed!


This record is nothing short of a modern masterpiece. Every element of this collection of songs is pure genius and it is sure to be one of the greatest creations ever created by a human. Right from the pummelling thunder that preceeds the beginning of "Black Mirror" to the epic, jaw-dropping closer, "My Body Is A Cage" their is not a moment on "Neon Bible" that falls short of such titles as "Breath-taking" and "World-Changing". All take notice for the future is here, to heal and to build. Neon Bible is the future. A'men.

Amazing, but not quite as good as Funeral

It's hard to followup to such an amazing album like Funeral and not leave fans dissapointed. Really, expectations were insanely high for this album, and though it might not have the same power and catchy songs as Funeral, Neon Bible is excellent. I'd suggest the following: Listen to the album as a whole, as it was intended. Give it a few listens before passing judgment. Funeral was the same, but Neon Bible is probably even less immediate. The quality of the songs (like Black Mirror, Balck Wave / Bad Vibrations and Antichrist Television Blues) reveal themselves after multiple listens. My only complaint is that Neon Bible (with perhaps the exception of Keep the Car Running) doesn't provide the same immediately accessible songs like Rebellion, or Neighbourhood 3.


Formed: June, 2003 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A combination of indie rock muscle and theatrical, unapologetic bombast turned Arcade Fire into indie royalty in the early 2000s. Originally comprised of Régine Chassagne, Richard Parry, Tim Kingsbury, and brothers William and Win Butler, the group formed during the summer of 2003, after Win spotted Chassagne singing jazz standards at a Montreal art exhibit. The grandson of famed swing-era bandleader Alvino Rey, Win was quickly charmed by Chassagne's performance, leading the two to launch a songwriting...
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