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The Arcade Fire

Few things in life are as fulfilling as loss. Really, people thrive on it. Sometimes, it even seems that any period of contentment we're lucky enough to have is just dead time, a spell of suspended animation that lasts until some catastrophe comes along and shocks us back to life. And so it is, with grief and havoc bursting like bubbles of light in the brain, that the Arcade Fire has undertaken Funeral. The Montreal septet, which features both a married couple and a set of siblings, suffered a series of deaths in the family over the course of Funeral's creation. These tragedies have seared a vivid intensity into the music that's contrasted by its grim, even elegiac tone. Frail acoustic threnodies bleed into codas of full-tilt cathartic abandon; chords clang against keys, strings, horns, xylophones and accordion in a frantic cluster-fuck euphoria. The album is not so much a requiem as it is a wake, and, beyond that, a wake-up call. If indie rock, or even pop music as a whole, truly still has the power to redeem its audience as well as itself, the Arcade Fire accomplishes exactly that with Funeral. The members' loss is their gain -- and ours, as well.
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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller

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