Arcade Fire’s new CD is smokin’ hot

Arcade Fire

“Neon Bible”

3.5 out of 5 stars

I can safely proclaim this album to be one of the most highly anticipated records of 2007, and all you need to do is look at the last two-and-a-half years to see why. The group sold out its initial pressing of its debut LP, received universal critical praise and earned a selection of high-profile fans including David Bowie.

Now in the early days of 2007, its second full-length has finally arrived. “Neon Bible” is much darker than the first album, at least in its overall tone, which says something considering the fact that the first album, “Funeral,” was written during a time when many of the band members were dealing with losses within their families.

A lot of this newfound darkness may be attributed to the complexities of this album compared to the last. Some of the new arrangements feature everything from a full orchestra to a church pipe organ and were produced in the lo/mid-fi manner.

“Neon Bible” really is a good album, but is it better than “Funeral”? My first inclination is that it’s not; but then again, it did take me a good five listens to really appreciate “Funeral.” I just don’t think the songs are as immediate this time around. Either way, it is still an album that demands to be listened to.

Key Tracks: “The Well and The Lighthouse,” “No Cars Go,” “Black Mirror”


“Myth Takes”

3 out of 5 stars

I feel obligated to start by discussing the band name. Yes, the name is spelled with three consecutive exclamation points, and just so we’re all on the same page, it’s pronounced by repeating any one-syllable percussive sound three times, most often “chk-chk-chk.” I promise all of you who may be confused that I’m not making this up.

With that said, !!! has made quite a name for itself over the years by crafting danceable rock music along the same line as groups like LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip or a much dancier version of The Rapture.

When I say danceable, I mean that this is the kind of stuff that would be considered acceptable in many discotheques around the world today. Plenty of drums and thumping bass provide a steady, body-moving back beat while the choppy guitars and synth flares round out the melodies.

“Myth Takes” may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s an interesting record that will certainly please the band’s fans and probably help them find some new ones.

Key Tracks: “Heart of Hearts,” “A New Name,” “Must Be The Moon”