The Arcade Fire Funeral

[Merge; 2004]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: indie pop, art-pop
Others: The Unicorns, Wolf Parade, Broken Social Scene, Modest Mouse

"Time keeps creepin' through the neighborhood, killing old folks, wakin' up babies just like we knew it would..."

I have my hands up in the air. I'm part of the choir and I'm ready to do what the Arcade Fire tells me to. I've been captured and smitten. A leap of faith is not required here. Funeral is like nothing you've heard before, and altogether familiar. Funeral comforts and cares, marches and dares, and towers over us with its anthemic choruses and orchestral arrangements.

It's been written that the members of The Arcade Fire did not all grow up listening to the same ten bands. Funeral is the ultimate companion/support piece to that statement. You could spend all day picking out potential influences while listening to Funeral; Motown, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Sugarcubes, New Order, The Pixies, The Talking Heads, and on and on. Does it really matter though? Does that ever really matter? I guess what we can note is that they made fine choices and we reap the rewards.

As some bands do, The Arcade Fire faced a daunting task in recording their first full-length. They had to balance crafting their own sound and fulfilling the lofty expectations created by their own stellar live rep. Many times, a studio release by a band with a strong live reputation can tend to sag under that weight of expectation. Funeral absolutely captures the passion and intensity of their live show. The band poured unlimited emotion into this record and in the process has left themselves vulnerable. This trust creates an amazing experience that a listener can really feel personally invited to. You can sense that something special is happening and somehow you feel a small part of it. You get it like you get the themes on the album of love, loss, birth, death, and family.

Like many classic releases, Funeral strikes a chord deep within and establishes a personal connection. The reason why? Because The Arcade Fire digs tunnels like us, watches pots boil like us, falls asleep in the backseat like us, and loves the bittersweet merry go round of this life -- like us. To top it off, they present all of this accompanied by some of the finest pop music and hooks of the year. And though named how it is, I believe we should celebrate this album in the finest tradition of an Irish Wake. For The Arcade Fire have revealed one of the best albums of the year, hands down.

1. Neighborhood # 1 (Tunnels)
2. Neighborhood # 1 (Laika)
3. Une Annee Sans Lumiere
4. Neighborhood # 3 (Power Out)
5. Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
6. Crown of Love
7. Wake Up
8. Haiti
9. Rebellion (Lies)
10. In the Backseat