This article originally appeared in Volume XX, Issue V of The University Observer’s Otwo supplement and online at universityobserver.ie
Reflektor continues the winning streak
Always eclectic and varied, with three stellar releases behind them, expectations demand that Arcade Fire keep delivering. With the mammoth Reflektor, the Canadian big picture ensemble has done just that.
At 75 minutes, Reflektor is their longest LP to date, yet flows with a purposeful sense of pace. None of the songs are overly lengthy or self-indulgent, with the possible exception of 11 minute closer ‘Supersymmetry’, half of which is an abstract ambient outro that asks a bit much of the listener.
The splitting of the album into two distinct sections is appropriate, each one reflecting a different type of Arcade Fire. The former is a playful disco-rock infused romp while the latter shoots for the tender epic, with producer James Murphy’s electronic influence used sparsely to great effect. The halves come together to form a cohesive and immensely satisfying whole.
‘Afterlife’ is an undeniable highlight; the kind of speedy, soulful refrain many have come to love the group for. ‘Awful Sound’ and ‘It’s Never Over’, a thematic pair, act as the album’s powerful emotional anchors, while ‘Normal Person’ thankfully suggests the band hasn’t risen above straightforward fun, the song driven by a delightfully heavy, grimy guitar riff.
Reflektor marks another successful evolutionary step for Arcade Fire, a process that isn’t showing any signs of fatigue or hesitation. Their confidence and sincerity is as infectious as ever.
In a Nutshell: Inventive and touching, a reminder of everything that has made and continues to make Arcade Fire special.