The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

Every now and then someone asks me where I get my music from.  I have to say multiple sources.  Vinyl, CDs, friends and sometimes the internets.

For the most part I purchase music through legal channels because it’s the right thing to do.  But sometimes I’m just forced to do things through not so legal channels for the simple reason that the proper channels don’t have what I want.

Case in point.  A few years back my boss and I went to India on business and were horrified that we were going to miss the new episode of Lost.

“No Biggie!” I said “We’ll just watch the stream on the ABC website!”

Wrong.  When we tried, all we got was a message informing us that ABC’s streaming media was not available in our host country.   My boss was disappointed, but I said “Wait!  We can download it off iTunes! Problem solved! Yay!!!”

Wrong again.  Different website, same discouraging message as before: Service not available in your country.  Fuck.

But do you know what service was available in my country? Bit Torrent.  And an hour later we were gathered around the warm blue glow of my laptop watching Lost.  My point is, we made every effort to give money to the right people and go through the proper channels…but in the end only piracy gave us what we wanted when we wanted it.  The day the media fully embraces that concept will be a great day indeed.

Another great day was the day Montreal’s  The Arcade Fire dropped their sophomore effort “Neon Bible” on the world.

Although I’m somewhat annoyed that once again a non-American rock band has out-rocked us again, I can’t help but love their sound.  That’s just the way things go sometimes.

Originally formed at Phillips Exeter Acadamy by brothers Win and William Butler, the band lineup went through a lot of changes before finally solidifying in 2003 around Butler and his new wife Régine Chassagne.  In it’s early incarnations, the group sold copies of the now unavailable “Us Kids Know EP” while playing local shows.  If anyone has a copy of this, let me know cause I need it.

Their first full length album, “Funeral” was released in late 2004 after a recording session plagued by the deaths of several bandmate’s relatives (Thus the title. ) They garnered the attention of David Bowie who loved their sound, but it was the internets that really made The Arcade Fire into stars.  The band’s mini tour was rapidly expanded into a mega tour, large venues replaced small venues and the band soon sold out of it’s stockpile of self released albums.

It was around this time I first heard the band and was happily surprised that the hype wasn’t exaggerated.  They have a lovely indie baroque sound that I could say was close to The Killers, but a lot dreamier.  If you don’t have “Funeral,” consider that your extra credit if you like “Neon Bible.”

After the success of “Funeral” the band purchased a defunct old church outside of Montreal and spent the first half of 2006 converting it into a recording studio.  The band also made some great decisions like trying out new instruments and sounds, and deciding to self produce their new album.

I think “Neon Bible” should have been 2007 album of the year.  Why it wasn’t was a mystery to me.  Maybe because it was a sophomore effort. But regardless this album will move you…emotionally or even physically to shake your ass.  Which to me is what a good album does.

You can hear how much work went into making the album, and how much attention to detail was put into each song.  That’s a rare feeling in most of today’s music.  And while their music is kind of hard to categorize, the quality isn’t.

BONUS: You know it’s good when Spike Jones uses a song for his trailer for “Where The Wild Things Are.”  Lets hope the movie is as good.


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