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First full album shows Arcade Fire’s potential

Molly Griffin | Thursday, September 1, 2005

“Funeral,” the first full-length album from the Montreal indie rock band, Arcade Fire, reveals the unusual sound that has won the band a huge following around the world.

The innovative band uses a variety of instruments and a large number of multi-talented members to make songs that fuse many different types of music. The album is varied, interesting and unexpected, and it, unlike many albums, gets more enjoyable the more that you listen to it.

The title of the album comes from the fact that several band members experienced the loss of family members while making the album. The themes of loss, love and redemption are prevalent in songs like “Une annee sans lumiere” and “In the Backseat.” The album’s information is even set up to look like the program from a funeral.

Arcade Fire manages to make the somber themes that pervade their album sound hopeful and uplifting while still providing a vivid sense of the emotions about which they sing.

Songs like “Rebellion (Lies),” “Crown of Love” and “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” reveal the soaring choruses, diversity of instruments and building crescendos that makes Arcade Fire stand out from other bands.

Some of the songs are fantastic, but others still sound a little rough and seem as though they might be better suited for live performances. Even with a few weak songs, the album as a whole is still enjoyable and shows a huge amount of potential and enthusiasm.

“Funeral” was released in September 2004, and has slowly grown in popularity thanks to word of mouth and Internet downloads. While not entirely embraced by the mainstream, Arcade Fire has managed to break out and gain a loyal following. The band has even had the video for their song, “Rebellion (Lies)” appear on MTV2 and were also a featured band on the station’s Web site. Fans can get more information about the band from their Web site, www.arcadefire.com, which features lyrics, photos, biographical information and tour dates.

Arcade Fire formed around married couple Win Butler (guitar, vocals, bass guitar, keyboard) and Regine Chaussagne (keyboard, accordion, xylophone, vocals, drums) and eventually solidified its current lineup in 2004. The band grew to include Richard Parry (guitar, percussion, upright bass, keyboards), Tim Kingsbury (guitar, bass), Will Butler (percussion, guitar, bass guitar), Sarah Neufeld (violin) and Jeremy Gara (guitar, drums).

The band uses a wide variety of instruments, and they frequently switch playing duties while performing. They are known for their innovative use of percussion during live shows and use helmets and other unusual objects to achieve a unique sound.

Arcade Fire has toured around the world, and the band was recently invited by U2 to open their November shows in Montreal.

Overall, “Funeral” is much livelier and more optimistic than the title would lead you to believe, and it reveals a great depth of feeling and passion within the band.

The album gets better after repeated listenings, and it reveals the huge potential that Arcade Fire has for future success.