Album Review: Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Score: 8.5/10


Their ‘Achtung Baby‘ arrives and thus, let the historical comparisons begin

Published by JB on November 30, 2013
Release date: October 28, 2013

Under Coldplay lead-man Chris Martin’s breath (the world’s most sensitive rock-star) he must secretly hate Arcade Fire much like the Beach Boys probably hated the Beatles.   While Radiohead has twisted its fans into a myriad of strangeness and disarray (King of Limbs, Atoms for Peace) Arcade Fire has by default, with 3 superb albums out of 4 in their catalog, become the greatest rock band in the world.   No more U2.  No more Coldplay.  No more Radiohead.  Everyone else, including the Black Keys, has to sit back and admire the Canadian onslaught that Win Butler and crew deliver like clockwork every three years.  They simply hold the invisible trophy of being the band with the most anticipated new music.  Amazingly, Reflektor doesn’t even represent Arcade Fire’s finest work to date – but it’s so far ahead of the curve that they’re lapping the competition.  Which takes us back to Chris Martin and Coldplay.   Arcade Fire simply represents the artistic reputation that Martin so diligently tries to make his band have.   But where Martin seems to want to walk old ladies across the street, Butler isn’t afraid to trip them and steal their groceries.   Sometimes nice guys do finish last.  Reflektor is everything Martin probably hoped the rather dumb Mylo Xyloto would be.  Not even a duet with Rhianna could save that rubbish and it’s nothing more than a welcome mat compared to the dynamic, unpredictable quality of Arcade Fire’s newest mini-masterpiece.

Reflektor is the obvious Achtung Baby album of their catalog.   It represents that slight change in direction (dance music, quite frankly) coming off of a GrammyD7K_0481 album winner (2010’s sublime The Suburbs) – just as U2 did after The Joshua Tree dominated 1987.   The Suburbs will always be Arcade Fire’s Sign O’ the Times (Prince’s magnum opus) – which is simply the best thing they ever make.  And the obvious parallel to U2 is nothing new, however pulling it off is remarkable in this age where the album concept is going through cardiac arrest.  Arcade Fire is on the verge of pulling off the comparison that once so greatly illustrated the Beatles dominance; quite simply, Arcade Fire is making music that looks like an aquarium and the rest of the world is holding blue construction paper.   So true.


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