Arcade Fire, Funeral

Andy Gill

By Andy Gill

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Canadian indie rockers record a masterpiece

The title of Arcade Fire's debut was inspired by a succession of bereavements afflicting the band during its creation. Forced to the creative brink by such an accumulation of sadness, Funeral finds them delving into some odd corners, particularly in the four-part "Neighborhood" suite, a fantasy about children living in the snow, developing without adult input during a prolonged power-cut. Despite the prominently keening violins, the band's dense, layered sound has some similarities with the Flaming Lips, especially since Win Butler's strained squawk of a voice inescapably recalls Wayne Coyne's. The inevitability of aging is the album's main theme, with "flowers growing on the grave of our love" in "Crown of Love," and Butler observing in "Wake Up" how "now that I'm older, my heart [is] colder." Regine Chassagne's "In the Backseat," meanwhile, brings a bittersweet poetry to bereavement, as she notes how "my family tree's losing all its leaves."