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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Album review: Arcade Fire try to keep it light with new album Everything Now

The Canadian sextet put on their dancing shoes with Everything Now but still get bogged down with self-importance

Everything Now by Arcade Fire.
Everything Now by Arcade Fire.

Ever since Arcade Fire’s arrival on the scene in 2004 with the indie-rock classic, Funeral, the band has skirted somewhere between brilliance and insufferable.

With each album they’ve upped the ante, whether that be by incorporating pompous stadium rock sounds and Caribbean percussion, or releasing a double album and launching a tour complete with an audience dress code.

As a result, the spiky fun of yore has been lost and in its place has come a virtuosity that lacks heart.

That being said, the Canadian sextet are trying to bring some of the fun back with their latest album, Everything Now.

The songs keep you moving with the thick funk bass lines, Giorgio Moroder synth arpeggios and nods to the likes of David Bowie, Queen and even Abba.

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It’s the latter that is most apparent in the title track and lead single. The opening piano riffs sounds like a sadder version of Dancing Queen with frontman and guitarist Win Butler lamenting human duplicity.

Signs of Life’s marauding groove disguises the track’s numerous delicious details such as the hushed brass, hand claps and orchestral trills.

The band sound like they are having a great time, until the album’s middle section where things begin to sag due to the group’s propensity to lace each song with banal lyrical declarations that are meant to be life-affirming.

Creature Comfort is supposed to be a big stadium-sized ode against celebrity culture, but it is let down by clunky lines such as “God, make me famous / If you can’t just make it painless”.

While Infinite Content bores; the track’s punk aesthetic sounds clinical rather than reflecting genuine disaffection.

Chemistry is a fun disco-stomp with a swaggering chorus you can’t help but dance to, while in Electric Blue, keyboardist Régine Chassagne takes over lead vocals for a sublimely ethereal number, recalling La Roux.

Such highlights remind us why we fell in love with Arcade Fire in the first place and why we probably should give them another chance.

Everything Now

Arcade Fire

(Columbia Records)