After weeks of secrecy and fake news, Arcade Fire has finally let free their fifth album Everything Now into the world.
Arcade Fire’s marketing team have had some fun creating spoof online reviews and websites. Not forgetting their fans’ paranoia of being targeted by spam bots and viruses. Has all the Everything Now campaign been worth our while? Or are we going to be let down by the hype machine and Arcade Fire’s infinite content?
It has been nearly four years since Arcade Fire released Reflektor, which divided fan due to its more electronic approach. There was hope that Arcade Fire would return to their classic sound of Funeral after all of their experimentation. On listening to the lead single Everything Now, it seemed that they were heading for a pop album sound which makes a lot of sense. What is the point of being one of the biggest live acts in the world when the common man can’t even whistle one of your tunes? Everything Now showed that they had more than just a collection of new waves LPs. They may even have a fondness for the less fashionable of acts like Abba and Gloria Estefan.
The track, Creature Comforts has an LCD Soundsystem feel and would perfectly on Reflektor. It’s probably one of their finest songs to date both musically and lyrically. One of the most provocative electro-pop anthems to hit the dance floor. So far so good for the Canadian sextet.
Single number three ‘Signs of Life’ came as a shock. As Win Butler raps over electro-funk, the word that comes to mind is interesting. Was this down to the influence of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter production?
Their fourth release ‘Electric Blue’ sung by Regine Chassagne continued in a similar vein to Signs of Life. There is a definite lack of the Richard Parry’s signature guitar sound, and it pondered the question: is the world ready for a funky Arcade Fire? Not really.
There are a couple of tracks that have their familiar sounds of old like We Don’t Deserve Love, which could have fitted in nicely on The Suburbs. Also, the joyous first version of Infinite Content; the second version is the same song slowed down perhaps for the band’s amusement? However this time they’ve taken a step too far from what their core fans would expect.
Everything Now is a groove thing. It is funky, soulful and hey, Arcade Fire even attempts reggae with the track Chemistry. It’s not a power-pop record or even a thought provoking electro-pop record. People wouldn’t have expected this album, and that’s probably the appeal of the band who never stick to a winning formula.
Like their heroes David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, and Talking Heads, Arcade Fire are a band who always strive to create new ideas and sounds. They have made yet another original album, and a very unexpected one. It is not necessarily the change of direction that has led to a disappointing listen, but the songwriting is just not up to its usual level. Everything Now has a couple of great singles, a few decent album tracks, and a lot of filler.