Last week Arcade Fire teased fans with a video based on a new tune called “Electric Blue.” The techno torch song provides an alluring tour of the melancholy aftermath of the Muses Mardi Gras parade.
Regine Chassagne, the Canadian co-founder of the artistically inclined band, wanders distractedly through the post-parade emotional vacuum, singing as ethereally as an angel. Meanwhile, New Orleans’ stellar street cleaning crews bustle around her, swiftly removing a sea of debris that just moments ago was treasure.
The implications of fleeting preciousness, loss and longing fills the air like electric blue NOPD cruiser lights.
New Orleans’ reputation as a cultural Shangri-La was enhanced a few years ago when Chassagne and her husband/bandmate Win Butler began using the city as a creative home base. Fellow New Orleans residents will be happy to see that the couple poetically incorporated a connoisseur’s view of Mardi Gras customs into their new video. Everyone can understand the cathartic abandon of a Carnival parade, after all. But only the real Crescent City cognoscenti can truly appreciate the wistfully wasteful aftermath.
And capturing the preternaturally clean and calm condition of the street after the last dump truck was gone added another layer of psychological complexity.
Thanks to Chassagne’s captivating performance, which brings to mind a more fragile Debbie Harry, “Electric Blue” is the sort of dreamy, passionate vision that makes even New Orleans Sanitation Department front end loaders seem seductive. If one were slow dancing with a sweetheart, the song might not seem nearly long enough. But honestly, for video viewing, the imagery and lyrics becomes a bit repetitive before they reach the 4-plus minute finish line.
“Electric Blue” is a harbinger of Arcade Fire’s album “Everything Now,” which is scheduled for release later this month, and the band’s continental tour to follow, including a Sept. 26 show at the UNO Lakefront Arena.