Everything Now – Arcade Fire

Oh the peculiarity in stature, aura, and idiosyncrasy. Is it a paradox? Or is it the tantalizing mystique that sets it aside from the majority of releases to hit the streets in 2017? Why would one of the greatest indie acts of the past decade release such an enigmatic record that has its core fan base wondering what’s it’s chewing on? And rightfully so. Chew away.

In fact, since they are one of the few starlit acts to break the scene since 2004’s jaw-dropping “Funeral” is exactly why this new release isn’t “Funeral.” It’s nothing like any other release from the group, and it’s a statement. No, you’re right, it’s definitely nothing like “Funeral” “or “Neon Bible” or “The Suburbs”. It’s a statement of nothing less than progression; a note in the annals that says, ‘Here’s where the group’s been, this is what we’ve done, and this is what we have to say… now.

With the great James Murphy (see LCD Soundsystem) behind the production helm, the 2013 release of “Reflektor” brought a hint of changing winds for the group. Win Butler and co. branched out and dipped their fingers into genres that weren’t necessarily, oh how do you say, characteristic? Yes, that’s the word (see LCD Soundsystem). Fast forward a few years, tag along some uncharacteristic ventures, enlist the greats of Thomas Bangalter from Daft Punk, Steve Mackey of Pulp, and Geoff Barrow of Portishead and you get something a little more characteristic. Sure, Everything Now is certainly not of the earth-shattering, physics-defying, mammoth of a release like its predecessors, and its progressive nature undoubtedly highlights that assertion. But does that discredit its intrinsic value?

Let’s break it down, shall we? The title track is undoubtedly on par with the “Arcade Fire” sound. The harmony is characteristically French in nature, there are little-to-no electronic aspects, and hell, it’s even driven by the strum of acoustic guitar. So, how’s that for characteristic? Moving on… The next point that needs to be made is the change in scenery the band went through over the years leading up to making this record. Bands do this for a number of reasons of which we won’t get into other than to primarily revel in the atmosphere that translates into sound (see “Here Comes the Night Time” from Reflektor). Now, this isn’t a down and dirty, chicken grease, or stand-up-and-slap-your-grand-pappy kind of funk record, but New Orleans is historically renown as a melting pot of genres. Taking all this in stride, songs like “Peter Pan” and “Chemistry” start making a lot more sense. Take the history and progression of the band in strides, and Everything Now starts making a lot more sense. See?

The verdict?

It shines in certain areas moreover others. “Infinite Content” is probably one that could use a buff (or maybe some attention?), but it’s not a ball and chain for the whole album. In fact, “Infinite_Content” sounds a lot like that Arcade Fire core, doesn’t it? The bottom line is this isn’t like any previous Arcade Fire releases. It’s a new(ish) sound, the imagery and packaging are aligned as well, and it’s a bit of a stepping-out for the group. Does that discredit the intrinsic value? Decide for yourself.

It sound like…

Arcade Fire came out with a new record that’s their first attempt at making a fun album. They added a pinch of party to where they left off on Reflektor, and the result sounds very different from 2004’s Funeral.