Are you expecting a new 'Neon Bible' or 'Funeral'? Then you might be disappointed. Arcade Fire approached the electronic sound already on their previous album 'Reflector', with James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem behind the production. On their new album 'Everything now', they've taken yet a step closer by allowing Geoff Barrow from Portishead and Thomas Bangalter from Daft Punk to be responsible for the production.
After some listening, the album appears to be quite fragmented; it works better in its individual parts than in its whole. For a while it sounds like tacky disco, and in other moments like synthified Reggae (Peter Pan). Still, it manages to sound like Arcade Fire with the feverish contrast between echoing guitars, Caribbean rhythms and odd percussion. As usual, the greatest asset is Win's and Régine's vocals.
Some boys hate themselves
Spend their lives resenting their fathers
Some girls hate their bodies
Stand in the mirror and wait for the feedback
Saying God, make me famous
If You can't, just make it painless
Just make it painless
One of the strongest tracks for me is 'Creature Comfort' which sounds like a left-over song from Sandinista (The Clash) with a pumping dancehall riddim. Lyrically it addresses the social roots of depression and suicide.
Win Butler sings about the shallowness of modern life, materialism and boys and girls who hate themselves; how the celebrity culture and the hunt for status distorts and distracts from what is truly important, inspired by the story of a fan: "She dreams about dying all the time / She told me she came so close / Filled up the bathtub And put on our first record". It also offers food for thought for anyone considering ending their life: "It's not painless / She was a friend of mine, a friend of mine".
However, as an album, 'Everything Now' is the band's least engaging work to date.