When Montreal’s Arcade Fire released their debut, Funeral, there was a whole host of excitement and god-like elevation for Win Butler and the rest as they took us all by surprise with this beguiling album. They have just recorded album number five, Everything Now, released today, and it’s safe to say that they have definitely taken a musical journey since the release of Funeral twelve years ago, from the beatific arrangements to this ABBA 80s synthesized sound, which rarely showcases their clear ability to write great songs.
Following the release of this album, Arcade Fire have also announced a headline tour for Spring 2018, which will see them play Glasgow, featuring songs from the band’s new release. Win Butler, Will Butler, Régine Chassagne, Jeremy Gara, Tim Kingsbury and Richard Reed Parry will get together again to transform the main cities in the UK into a party bus or a Eurovision dance off, as they will serenade the crowd with tracks such as the repetitively thrusting Peter Pan and synthesized power ballad, Creature Comfort.
Everything Now was produced by Arcade Fire, Thomas Bangalter and Steve Mackey, with co-production by Markus Dravs; and was recorded at Boombox Studios in New Orleans, Sonovox Studios in Montreal, and Gang Recording Studio in Paris. The production value is high but this album fails to show off the clear talent of the band, the song-writing, lyrical, vocal talent that is blatantly at the core of previous records.
Everything Now, opener, “pledge your allegiance for everything now” is a grower as a summer pop track but little more than that, which moves into the layered Signs of Life, built with percussion and beautiful brass and lyrics such as “those cools kids stuck in the past, in a whirl of cigarette ash” reflecting their trend-setting aptitude. Chemistry, underwhelming yet surprising, comes with a Jamaican Ska sound and little love for lyrics. The two versions of Infinite Content come as a repetitive mantra, especially after hearing this twice, albeit at different tempos. It may well be infinite but is it qualitative?
There are two stand-out tracks, which are so for they gives Win’s vocals the space to breathe and prove themselves once more. Good God Damn, a stripped down track, relief to the ears nearing the conclusion of the record. Put Your Money on Me reminds us of the band we previously knew with stunning lyrics such as “trumpets of angels cough over my head.”
Everything Now is available from Friday 28th July via Sony Music.