I became a big fan of Arcade Fire after listening to their debut album Funeral. The energy, the passion, the musicality in the album still holds strong ten years later (“Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” is arson). I was meh about Neon Bible (though there was a couple of songs I liked on the album). The Suburbs was the same reaction, meh, but there were a couple of songs that I liked. I knew there was something different about Reflektor based on the title track (and how it stole from Flight of the Conchords “Inner City Pressure”, which was stolen from a Pet Shop Boys song). I took the risk and bought it and it has been on repeat since.
Musically, it’s a big shift. Funeral was a lightning bolt, Neon Bible had a mourning bleat to it and The Suburbs is this sprawling concept album with a message. Reflektor is a party (and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem has something to do with that). The transitions between songs are really great, and there’s a lot that will make you tap your foot or bang your head in your cubicle.
Lyrically though, there’s nothing about these songs that connect with me on an emotional level. I connect with The National, The Afghan Whigs, The Cure, Beck (only on Sea Change) because of my own mistakes.
If you are a fan of Funeral Arcade Fire, you’ll hate this album. If you are someone who notices risk, the want to evolve and push past personal limitations, you’ll like Reflektor a lot.
Last Friday, Laura and I went up to Ponte Vedra Beach to see Neko Case play. This was our first time experiencing her live and it was an incredible experience.
I’ve said before there are bands that sound worse live, sound exactly as is live, and sound better live. Neko Case is far superior live because:
- Her voice – Those songs where she goes from soft to belting, she actually does that (even with a cold).
- Her band – They play a lot of different instruments incredibly. Her accompanying vocalist, Karen Hogan, also has an amazing voice that complements with Neko’s
- Her attention to the soundboard – Neko paused the show several times to make sure that the next song would sound right to the audience and after, the song sounded perfect. Some would be annoyed by that but I’d rather wait a minute or two to hear it right.
If you have a chance to see Neko Case in town, do it.
This upcoming week, I am doing some literary things.
- Tuesday, November 5, I am talking to one of Nathan Holic‘s classes about my experiences interviewing for PANK and other things.
- Friday, November 8, I am reading with three other writers in Maitland. The Facebook event invite is here.
- And finally, this is me reading my contribution to this year’s issue of the Tule Review, based out of Sacramento, CA.