Arcade Fire debut makes noise in the industry

By Matt O'Rourke, Collegian Staff

The Arcade Fire’s debut album, titled “Funeral,” is anything but a sad affair; rather, the music is a pure celebration of life. Hailing from Montreal, this indie-rock sextet’s compositions are exploding with energy similar to the Talking Heads, Flaming Lips, and Broken Social Scene. The Arcade Fire will breathe life into those who are waiting for the next big thing to arrive, because in terms of indie-rock, they may certainly be it.

Over the past year, members of the Arcade Fire lost many of their loved ones. Lead singer Win Butler lost his grandmother in March, and instrumentalist Richard Parry lost his aunt. Reeling from their losses, the band collaborated to give birth to their debut “Funeral.” But they have overcome their personal tragedies in true fashion, and in the process, earned praise from “Pitchfork Media” and “College Music Journal” as one of the best bands this year. The Arcade Fire earned top honors at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon in New York City.

The Arcade Fire break their tracks into different “Neighborhoods,” each with its own distinct sound. The stage is set in “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” with a climbing piano melody, driving disco/dance-hall drum rhythms, and an echoing guitar. As the track progresses, the speed quickens, and it is finally concluded with an eerie, yet charming, vocal chorale.

The sextet combines a variety of sounds for “Neighborhood #2 (Laika).” A tribal drumming rhythm soon transforms into a French-sounding accordion, and they are finally bound together by an oriental string backup. It’s something that simply must be heard to be understood fully.

“Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” charges forward with a constant pulse felt in the drum kit and underlying support found in the orchestral sound provided by strings and xylophone.

“Neighborhood #4 (Kettles)” carries a folk music quality surrounded by a dark tone from the orchestra. Acoustic guitar accompanies the simple ballad sung by Butler: “they say a watched pot won’t ever boil/well I closed my eyes, and nothin’ changed/ Just some water getting hotter in the flames.”

The Arcade Fire masterfully craft each song, with nearly all of the tracks building into something incredible and finales that will keep you replaying the song over and over again. “Une Annee Sans Lumiere” is one of the most amazing songs on the album. The French mixed with English lyrics are laid back as Butler sings a duet with his wife and co-songwriter, R