Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Arcade Fire

One of the bands I've been keeping an eye on for the past few years is The Arcade Fire. Early on there were a number of very respected critics who made comparisons to my favorite band, U2. Some were even boldly referring to them as the "next U2," and while that is a difficult assessment to make (not to mention a heavy burden to put on a relatively young band!), they are a band that is worth listening to and examining. Time Magazine even saw fit to put them on the cover two years ago, calling them "Canada's most intriguing rock band.

What makes them particularly interesting to me, aside from their music and musicianship, are the almost constant and very real mentions of matters of faith in their lyrics, particularly on their latest disc, Neon Bible. I have no clue whether any of the members profess any sort of faith, but there are many references to Christianity throughout. For the most part they have been silent in interviews, but when they DO talk about Christianity their words sound as if they are coming from someone who is "in the know" rather than from someone looking from the outside in. There's a difference. When someone is criticizing Christians, or the American version of the church, it is often easy to tell whether the person knows what they are talking about. And the assessments made by The Arcade Fire, both lyrically and in interviews, have a real ring of truth.

I need to digest the album a bit more before I talk more about the lyrics, but I think there are some interesting comments by the band about the whole concept of "church" in this interview at the Canadian music site Jam! Music. Some of the album was recorded in a church, and drummer Jeremy Gara notes:

"Us recording in a church, we had an idea for the pipe organ before that even happened. But Win and Regine, when I first met them, were always talking about if we could ever live in a church that'd be amazing. It's meant to be a place of community and of that special something that is intangible -- spirituality, openness -- and you're really just supposed to feel things, whether it be music, whether it be performance or your faith. I mean, it definitely penetrated the sound of the album."

Interesting stuff. And it certainly does have a U2-ish ring about it. It's no surprise that this band is attracting a huge crowd of listeners on college campuses, as well as among those in their 20s. I look forward to hearing more from this band in the years to come.

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