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Neon Bible

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Editors’ Notes

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

For fans of...

...Rebellion from the first album. In my experiences, Arcade Fire fans fall into two Categorys, those who liked the more frantic affairs from Funreal, IE Wake Up, and those that prefered the quieter, more melodic numbers such as Rebellion. This album seems to focus on the latter group, which is a good thing for me because I loved Rebellion. Songs such as Keep The Car Running, and No Cars Go, repeat this to great effect and have created a brilliant album. The production is huge, and the songs match it, creating a wall of sound and interesting points. While not perfect, some of the songs are not great, it is as damn close as we could have asked for! Not a disapointment, thank you Arcade Fire!

I See the light!

When an album this good comes along, you simply have to put everything aside and listen. In an age when albums are at best a loose assemblage of fragmented musings, along come Arcade Fire to re-introduce the COMPLETE piece of work. 'Neon Bible' tackles religeon in the same way they tackled death and nostalgia on 'Funeral'. Each track acts as a chapter in the book of discontent that the band obviously feel when faced with the American dream turned nightmare, as viewed through the distorted prism of the Bible belt. It would be a dis-service to the band to pick recommended songs - as mentioned above, this is a complete work that is best taken as a whole. Best listened to in a wide open space, preferably at sunset.

Just sensational

A worthy follow-up to Funeral, Neon Bible is just ace. At first, it doesn't hit the highs of Power Out or Rebellion, but give it some love and attention and I think it may grow to be bigger and better than it's older brother. 'Keep the Car Running', 'Intervention', 'Antichrist Television Blues' and 'No Cars Go' are early favourites. 'No Cars Go' is a huge improvement on the version that is on the early EP. Heard these songs at St Johns Church at the end of January and can't wait to hear them in a bigger venue, which is when AF really come into their own.


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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