The Arcade Fire: Funeral

The Arcade Fire - FuneralWhen I asked a friend of mine whom, to her credit, has been raving about this band longer than anyone I know; what it was about it she liked so much, she simply replied “it has everything I like about music right now all in one band.” I can see how she’d get that out of listening to their debut full length Funeral. It’s got the irregular guitar work of Interpol or British Sea Power, the quirky, angular structure of Blonde Redhead and the slight tinge of a southern accented vocalist, which is odd since the band hails from Montreal.

It’s these vocals, more than anything else that keep me coming back to the Arcade Fire, but unfortunately it’s because they sound almost exactly like Atlanta based Rock*A*Teens. I get so caught up in this case of mistaken identity that I often times find myself under the impression that I am listening to a fantastic rock opera performed by the RAT. Make no mistake, the vocal similarities aren’t a put off, it works exceedingly well in this case.

Whether you consider Funeral a rock opera, a concept album, or sheerly a product of luck, there is no debate that this record flows seamlessly from start to finish and arranges its high and low points at all the right spots along the way. The track “Wake Up”, which is situated right in the middle of the album and seems to be aimed at doing exactly what it suggests to the listener, is one of the finest musical arrangements I’ve heard in quite a long time, and greatly exemplifies the emotion and imagination this album is capable of generating in the listener. Funeral could very well be one of those records that ends up with the cult status that will keep people talking about it for years to come. In some cases the hype is deserved, and I’d say the Arcade Fire deserve all the hype they can get.

Chris Smith
Arcade Fire (Merge Records)