Arcade Fire – Everything Now
Whether you'd like to admit it or not, we won't get another record like Funeral in our lifetime, especially not from that record's composers, Arcade Fire. In their defence, it would be impossible for anyone to follow up a debut that's had such impact as theirs, but they have managed it with three albums of consistent quality, each with their own distinctive sound and aesthetic.
While 2013's Reflektor could have done with a little bit of trimming, it remained a mostly great record that saw the band fully embrace an electronic style, and managed to be another departure from the grandiose Americana-baiting of The Suburbs or Neon Bible's dark energy. So four years on, it was a little bit disappointing when the lead single from the Quebecois' latest felt like both a musical and thematic re-tread of Reflektor's title track, ABBA influence aside. And indeed, that is the major problem with Everything Now – it's the first time Arcade Fire's new material has felt like a diminished return of what went before it.
This was perhaps somewhat inevitable; Arcade Fire have covered so much ground of their eclectic career it's no wonder that they eventually had to repeat themselves. However, that isn't to say that Win Butler & Co can't still write a barn-stormer when they want to, as second single Creature Comfort proves. Elsewhere, the band do their usual genre homages, tackling dancehall (Chemistry), punk (Infinite Content), and country (Infinite_content) but it is when they concentrate on just writing great Arcade Fire songs that they shine, such as the gorgeous We Don't Deserve Love.
While there is still plenty to love here, Everything Now feels like Arcade Fire's first non-essential album which is a serious matter given their illustrious back-catalogue.
Listen to: Creature Comfort, Infinite Content, We Don't Deserve Love