Last week, Arcade Fire took the unusual step of posting a fake review of their fifth album. On a webpage mocked up to look like US music blog Stereogum, the Canadian sextet attempted to second-guess the critical response to Everything Now: dance-influenced tracks will be compared “favorably but slightly dismissively to LCD Soundsystem”; the album itself will “eventually be evaluated as one of the best of the year”.
It was the latest stage in a promotional campaign that feels as if it has been going on for about 200 years, during which Arcade Fire have pretended to be in the employ of a company called Everything Now Corp, which also manufactures fizzy drinks and energy bars and is aggressively marketing the band via ice-cream sponsorship deals and the placement of stories about them across the media. The mock Stereogum review follows their online parodies of sport, travel, film, music industry news and Goop-esque lifestyle websites: it can only be a matter of time before they do one poking fun at Angling Times.
It is intriguing, although not perhaps in the way Arcade Fire think it is. The suffocating noise of modern media, the similarity between the marketing of rock music and the marketing of household goods: from U2’s PopMart tour to PC Music, these are impossibly well-worn topics. Why Arcade Fire have started making a satirical song and dance about them now is an interesting question. Perhaps it is something to do with prickliness about finally signing to a major label 16 years into their career. Or perhaps they are keen to prove they have a sense of humour. Arcade Fire have been hailed as many things, but are seldom an unceasing source of LOLs and ROFLs, although whether Everything Now’s promotional campaign will do anything to change that is a moot point: none of it seems capable of inducing a reaction in a normal human being any more uproarious than a polite smile.
Still, the fake review seems noticeably different to the rest of the Everything…