It’s an entirely fair claim to call Arcade Fire the biggest ‘cult’ (if that word has any meaning anymore in the digital age) band in the world right now. Having headlined festivals and sold out arenas without having anything close to a mainstream hit, the band have been showing the likes of U2 and Coldplay how stadium rock can be both daring and powerful for nearly a decade.
Following their 2010 masterpiece ‘The Suburbs’, they’ve recruited former LCD Soundsystem lynchpin James Murphy to produce their fourth album, due out later this year. In a haze of a cryptic teaser campaign, Reflektor, the first song from the record and its title track, has surfaced online.
It’s disco. Properly disco. Even if you had prior knowledge of Murphy’s involvement and his fondness of everything four-to-the-floor, this still comes as a little bit of a shock. It’s also one of the best things they’ve ever done. Having previously flirted with synth-pop on tracks like ‘The Sprawl II’, here they step up their love affair to a whole new brilliant level. As horns play just under the ear-worm of a chorus, it’s impressive just how natural this huge change in sound feels for the band. Thankfully, lead singer Win Butler has wisely decided against mimicking The Bee Gees in the vocal department, with his familiar musings on feeling lost giving a gentle reminder that this is the same group of musicians that wrote ‘Wake Up’ nine years ago.
And then David Bowie turns up.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Real life, actual David Bowie turns up and delivers statesmanlike backing vocals around the half way point of the near 8 minute track. His presence re-calls his seminal late 70s Berlin era albums while topping off what is undoubtedly one of the most exciting pieces of music that you’ll hear all year. By somehow re-tooling a genre that seemed stagnant to make it sound thrilling again, Arcade Fire are currently in a league of their own.
Watch the video to Reflektor here:
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