“Reflektor” by Arcade Fire Review


Will’s take on “Reflektor”

I wasn’t looking forward to this review. I’m not an Arcade Fire fan, and have long thought them to be overrated. But all my fears were dispelled after listening to “Reflektor,” the new seventy-five minute double album from the Canadian band.

The lone single, “Reflektor,” garnered mixed reactions from critics. It’s a seven-and-a-half minute single, and not your average “radio” hit.  At the very least, I knew the album would be true to their established sound. They were still an indie-rock band, one that hadn’t sold out after a decade of commercial success.

Even though it’s a double album, “Reflektor” was never long or drawn out – it was coherent and well put together. Even the eleven-minute finale was beautifully composed and just plain beautiful. I didn’t want it to end.

It’s beautiful. “Reflektor” is music like we learned it in music class. There are melodies, counter melodies, tempo and meter changes. With LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy as producer, Arcade Fire has put together a fantastic follow up to their 2010 Grammy-winning album, “The Suburbs.”

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Key Songs:

1. “Reflektor”

2. “You Already Know”

3. “Here Comes the Night Time”

4. “Here Comes the Night Time II”

Oh, just drop the $12 and buy the album.

Micah’s take on “Reflektor”

Just like Will, I was afraid of writing this review, but for a very different reason: “The Suburbs” is my favorite album, and I had no idea how Arcade Fire could follow it.

The answer, as it turns out: they don’t try to. “Reflektor” has little to do with the stripped-down melancholy of “The Suburbs,” but it’s not a return to the baroque pop of “Funeral” and “Neon Bible.” It’s not a step forward or a step backward; it’s an intriguing leap sideways. The songs are built around bass and synthesizers, but not in a Ke$ha-type way. Rather, it’s like Arcade Fire has finally become the ‘80s band they’ve always wanted to be. It’s no coincidence that David Bowie is featured on the title track – the whole album seems like an extended riff on the sort of style he, David Byrne, and Brian Ferry built.

And they pull it off. “Reflektor” (the single) is just long enough, “Afterlife” has a distinct Roxy Music vibe, “Here Comes the Night Time” lets them flex their musical chops, and “Joan of Arc” is darn near perfect.

It’s not displacing “The Suburbs” as my favorite album – Side II is just a little weak – but “”Reflektor”” is among the best albums I’ve heard in a long, long time. Here’s to another decade of Arcade Fire.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Key songs:

1. ”Joan of Arc”

2. ”Here Comes the Night Time”

3. “Reflektor”

4. ”You Already Know”

Or, y’know, just buy the whole thing. It’s worth it.