Arcade Fire - Everything Now (Album Review)

Graeme Marsh 31 July 2017

Arcade Fire gave us a modern classic with their debut, ‘Funeral’, following it up with two further top notch albums of ambitious indie-rock on ‘Neon Bible’ and ‘The Suburbs’. With the release of the occasionally overblown and over-hyped double LP ‘Reflektor’, though, cracks began to show after an almost flawless start to their career.

Early indications - in the form of four songs rolled out pre-release - were that ‘Everything Now’ promised a detour from their generally anthemic and emotionally intense template as they turned their hands to a more disco-oriented sound.src=//

These tasters were a mixed bag and highlighted the uncertainty at how the album would be received. First up we had a title track that conjured classic Arcade Fire, with a simple yet ingenious riff moving from piano into sung verses.

The song, one of the finest here, is also repurposed for the LP’s curtain raiser Everything_Now (continued) and closer Everything Now (continued).

The other early cabs off the rank fared less well. Creature Comfort is like an echo of the Killers or a particularly bad Thompson Twins track, with a weak melody joining arpeggiated synths, squawked backing vocals and pleading lyrics: “God make me famous, if you can’t, just make it painless.”

Signs of Life utilises handclaps – never usually a great sign – to prop up its empty disco grooves. “Those cool kids, stuck in the past,” it tells us. “There’s no sign of life.” The glitzy Electric Blue thankfully raised the bar, with space age pop amid sparkling synths.

Three of the four early releases crop up on the first side of the LP, with the other tunes doing little to provide a wow factor. The wimpy synths on the uninspiring Peter Pan thankfully stick around for less than three minutes, while Chemistry sounds like a bad, white reggae band playing a Was Not Was track at a wedding.

The double-header of Infinite Content and Infinite_Content provides a contrast. The first is a short, sharp punky Guided By Voices-style effort that’s over way too soon, while the latter is a country-tinged version of what’s just gone before replete with strings.

At this stage, the album begins to build some momentum. Funky bass helps to channel Prince on Good God Damn, with Put Your Money enticingly building in intensity thanks to flecks of Abba. The album’s peak eventually arrives with We Don’t Deserve Love, where an addictive shuffling beat drives an excellent six minute thriller. From inconspicuous beginnings to curious, warped string-sounds, it draws mournful power from tragic childhood memories: utter genius.

‘Everything Now’ has its moments, but there is an overwhelming sense that Arcade Fire are in decline. The disco dabbling hasn’t quite worked, yet there is still a vital band hiding underneath that needs to focus on their remarkable strengths.

Arcade Fire Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri April 06 2018 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Sun April 08 2018 - MANCHESTER Arena
Wed April 11 2018 - LONDON SSE Arena, Wembley
Thu April 12 2018 - LONDON SSE Arena, Wembley
Sun April 15 2018 - BIRMINGHAM Genting Arena
Mon April 16 2018 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro

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