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iTunes Review

With a penchant for theatrical indie anthems, Montreal’s Arcade Fire has amassed a broad international following without compromising its restless artistic vision. For the follow-up to 2010’s GRAMMY®-winning release The Suburbs, the band enlisted the production skills of LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy. At more than seven minutes long, the title track’s hypnotic, futuristic disco groove demonstrates a sparkling chemistry to start AF’s fourth studio endeavor: a double album in concept and in length. Shades of Roxy Music, David Bowie (who’s a fan and lent a vocal to the title track), and Talking Heads continue to color the established Arcade Fire sounds. But there’s a modern grandiosity to the full-on arrangements of “We Exist,” “Here Comes the Night Time,” “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice),” and “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)”—all songs tipping past the five-minute point—that show the married couple of Win Butler and Regine Chassagne are using their mainstream success to expand their creative reach. Concerns of life, love, death, and the afterlife bleed through the multi-octave vocal delivery of husband and wife, but it’s the rhythmic punch that keeps things moving. 

Customer Reviews


Pre-ordering this album is probably the safest bet you can make as a modern music consumer. This band is so undeniably human and authentic, it would be a crime to not pay. James Murphy and our friends from Montreal are weeks away from releasing a dark disco classic, making it look painfully easy in the process. I've followed this band for years - if you haven't gotten on board, believe the hype. They're the best thing to happen to humanity in quite some time.

I Can't Quite Understand...

...the negative feedback and the resistance to Arcade Fire's "new" sound. I think I'll use my space here to just put forward a few rebuttals to what I see as the most ignorant detractions.

First, for those who are disappointed that this new album departs from some set Arcade Fire sound, I would encourage growing up and reviewing the discography of any rock band not named Nickelback. Every great band--like every great writer or visual artist--pushes the boundaries of their work and their medium, or their product necessarily suffers stagnation. I don't know many people who think the Beatles would've been better foregoing Sgt. Pepper's or the White Album in order to preserve that Beatles for Sale sound.

For those complaining of the disco/techno vibe present on many of the tracks, I would encourage revisiting all of Arcade Fire's previous works. This band has always put out some fantastically danceable and groovy tracks, though perhaps not always so laden with the 70s styled synths and arrangements. One of the best songs off of The Suburbs, "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," is MUCH more disco sounding than anything from Reflektor; and there's not a person out there who can convince me that this song or this band "rocks" any less for drawing from that musical genre. Nobody seems to care when a rock band goes a little country or folksy or bluesy--most people welcome that with open arms--but when people hear "disco" in connection with a rock and roll band, it's over. I don't get it.

Finally, for those who claim that this album lacks the musicianship or craft of Arcade Fire's previous works, I recommend listening to Funeral on headphones from start to finish and then following that up with Reflektor on headphones from start to finish. Then, do the same for Neon Bible and The Suburbs. I defy you to point out to me where the craft and skill is lacking on Reflektor. People are miffed about synthesizers, but really LISTEN to the arrangements on those songs where they're being used, and you'll see that the compositions are as impressive as anything else they've recorded.

And, just for those who haven't yet listened and might be getting the impression that Reflektor could be part of the ABBA catalogue, Arcade Fire have lost none of their guitar-based hard-rocking sensibility. Sometimes the riffs aren't as bare and raw as they were on Funeral, but they're nonetheless powerful and infectious.

Buy this album and keep it playing (preferably in your car at high volume) for at least a few times through before forming your opinion, and certainly before posting an uninformed, juvenile review.


I am literally peeing myself with excitement for this album!!!


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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