The first I heard of Arcade Fire’s 3rd album, The Suburbs, was a play of the title track on the radio around a couple of months ago. When the DJ announced that they’d be getting an exclusive play I got massively excited, but sadly the track was a bit of a let down and I started to write off the potential of the album. After a few let down albums this year, I was worried that Arcade Fire would follow suite.
Despite the fact that the LP opens slowly with the lacklustre Suburbs, Ready to Start is a decent step up, but still nowhere near the potential shown in Funeral and Neon Bible. It’s just a bit empty, despite the fact that it opens well.
Though there are a couple of nice moments on Modern Man, it still doesn’t capture your heart on first listen and by this stage your fear may turn to resignation, but you shouldn’t give up hope because they’re just laying the canvas before they flash the on the colour .
With a bright red brush, in sweeps Rococo and suddenly all is saved with a brilliant mix of trudge and melody. The feedback fuelled ending is ace. Then we’re back with old school Arcade Fire rhythm and violins on Empty Rooms and you realise that they’ve thrown everything into this album; the rough, the smooth and the amazing, and there’s still eleven more tracks to come. Régine Chassagne’s vocals sound stunning.
Half Light II (No Celebration) is all big guitar, subtle orchestrals and great lyrics. It’s an “elements of the past, elements of the future combined” kind of song, making Arcade Fire sound as modern as they ever have.
Suburban War has got an amazing start with subtle ringing reverb guitar notes. The short instrumental interlude is a bit on the epic side before Win Butler’s lyrics kick in with, “oh my old friends, they don’t know me now”.
Month of May is all rock n roll; a big departure from everything they’ve done before, but a perfect fit on The Suburbs. However, the rest of the album is a lot more subdued and flows down to the end a little quietly.
Suburbs is a mix of ups and downs from Arcade Fire. The highs are soaring and the lows are just a part of the bigger picture. Though they’re not all great songs, they all have their place on the album. Any song that doesn’t work amazingly musically, the lyrics take up the focus.
Arcade Fire The Suburbs album review: 4/5