Caroline Koch // Arts Editor
Undeniably authentic, writer and frontman Win Butler tells “Rolling Stone” about what Reflektor is providing him personally, “I’m not trying to tell other people’s stories. We’re just trying to allow an experience to change you.”
Butler’s inspiration comes from an extended stay in Haiti, where his wife and band mate Regine Chassagne’s parents were born.
In the interview with Patrick Doyle, the singer describes a cultural epiphany that has had an obviously profound impact on the band’s sound for this double LP. “Usually, I think you have most of your musical influences locked down by the time you’re 16. There was a band I felt like changed me musically [in Haiti], just really opened me up to this huge, vast amount of culture and influence I hadn’t been exposed to before, which was really life-changing.”
The growth spilling out of the speakers over beats and reverb is unmistakable. James Murphy, the wizard that brought us LCD Soundsystem, produced most of the tracklist with long standing Arcade Fire associate, Markus Dravs.The marriage of Murphy’s dance floor authority and Butler’s lyrical talent (plus apparent affinity for Studio 54), sprinkled with a Haitian-inspired, easy groove makes for the best effort from the Canadians yet. The Grammy winners even found some room for vocal help from long-time fan, David Bowie on the title track.
Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible was the third vinyl I ever bought, on par with my mother’s own purchase of The Velvet Underground at about the same age; which is fitting, given the wake of Long Island uber-rockstar Lou Reed’s passing last weekend. A permanent fixture of Warhol’s Factory and New York art scene in the late 60s, Reed makes a poignant appeal to his generation about artist reinvention that carries into this century: “I think life is far too short to concentrate on your past. I rather look into the future.”
While the new Arcade Fire album parallels releases from Radiohead, Talking Heads, the Rolling Stones and the ever-present comparison of U2, the impact of the 75 minutes of Reflektor belongs to us in this moment, and most definitely to music still to come.
This release is better in a way that no one would have ever thought about; Bulter and the band give us an album that we didn’t even know we wanted. And why not? Because of expectation? Previous work and comparison?
Reflektor propels the idea of an evolutionary, lasting career in the music industry into a speed fit for our generation. Amidst the reign of radio pop and EDM bangers, it’s really exciting to be part of such a standout musical journey that critics will surely compare new records to down the road.
For now though, get hip to this swinging indie disco – turn it up and soak up the experience.