Album Review: Everything Now, Arcade Fire
Stadium grumps deliver return-to-form fire-cracker.
Arcade Fire’s glorious po-facedness has, across the past decade, almost been enough to restore belief in the potency of arena rock. That said, they’ve occasionally walked the line between sincere and grumpy a little too uncertainly, tipping over into the latter on 2013’s preachy and over-long Reflektor. Nor were the omens positive ahead of the follow-up. A move to Sony Music was trailered by a declaration that they had been sequestered by the evil Everything Now corporation (a have your cake and eat it bit of positioning of which Boris Johnson would be envious). The eponymous first single, for its part, suggested a somewhat crestfallen Abba – a conceit that even a performer as ardent as Win Butler struggled to sell.
The big reveal, then, is that Everything Now, with production by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter, is a blast. The Canadian-American ensemble lean away from any obvious sense of piousness, delving back into the Talking Heads-style chill-funk with which they flirted impressively on their 2005 debut.
The new paradigm is announced early-on here with ‘Creature Comfort’, a skittering groover in which Butler and his wife Regine Chassagne’s voices interweave superbly on a proudly slinky chorus. If the album’s putative theme is corporate greed, there are also hints of relationship angst and renewal, with Butler movingly declaring himself a Lost Boy in search of his Wendy on ‘Peter Pan’.