Arcade Fire: Reflektor

3 Dec

Nestled within Arcade Fire’s Reflektor are some of the most thought-provoking, emotive and, above all, beautiful metaphors I have come across in music.

The long-awaited follow-up to The Suburbs (2010) is an 82-minute dreamscape on two discs. The tracks are long and, although not quite a concept album, interact with one another; picking up repeated themes from different perspectives to form a roundedness of reflection not often found in shorter – however poetic – indie rock songs. As a result, Reflektor presents not simply as an album but as a long, cyclical conversation. The end tracks of both discs – each a ten-minute ramble of differing instrumental parts, which, although discordant, follow smoothly and nonsensically on from one another – ground the album’s varied subject matter within a timeless, dreamlike atmosphere.

It’s very difficult to pick out favorite songs from such a cohesive flow of music, but I will say that Here comes the Night Time is a poignant critique of the present-day church’s judgment and exclusion of the masses – all framed within upbeat, calypso-style steel drum instrumental – and tracks 2 through 5 of Disc 2 really floored me. Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) and It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus) form a contrasting duo adding new insight into the Greek mythical characters of Orpheus and Eurydice, and bringing their romantic plight into contemporary relevance.

Following Here comes the Night Time‘s references to an exclusive, musicless kingdom of heaven, Afterlife draws a heartwrenching parallel between life after death and after the rupturing of a romantic bond.

And you say
“Oh, when love is gone
Where does it go?”
And where do we go?
Where do we go?

Is this the afterlife?
It’s just an afterlife with you.

Reflektor will give long-time Arcade Fire fans more of their favorite music to revel in even more deeply and widely, and new listeners some somber mental labyrinths to explore.

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