Monday, September 17, 2007

CD Review: ARCADE FIRE "Neon Bible"

This is the recent CD by the band Arcade Fire, not to be confused with Arcade, or Panic in the Arcade. This is the Arcade Fire from Montreal, though not to be confused with OF MONTREAL, who they sound EXACTLY like. Though Of Montreal aren't from Montreal at all, but Georgia. I have a feeling they are all just doing this to confuse me. Kids these days!

The cover of this CD is so incredibly ugly as to say, "We are trying to make this as ugly as possible, and we have succeeded." It does recall the ugliness of early computer art and video games of the Pac Man era rather well, which a lot of people naturally have nostalgia for, though it makes me quite nauseous. It is in a sense saying, "while neon itself if very beautiful, these photographic representations of neon, especially when presented in a CD art format, are just hideously small and weak." I agree, and maybe that is a comment on the band-- how tinny and pathetic they sound coming through my CD boombox speakers. But it's a LARGE band-- like seven people, and you have to think that maybe LIVE they have a glorious sound. That is if you can get close enough to the stage! This band is popular. Anyway, they must not be too greedy, with all those people, and they must be able to get along. I'd like to think I could get along with them, and be friends. That is why I'm trying to write a good review!

I'm kind of fascinated with the CD booklet which is all black and white, which includes more studiously failing neon pictures, but also some people in a theatrical setting, lights, places, and pipe organs which are beautiful in black and white. It's all very kind of weird in that backwoods way that says, "Yes, we're Canadian, we're living in a Guy Maddin world." Which is... you know they probably are. Anyway, here I am, saying what they're saying, and really failing to review the music. I'll try to do better.

I like the sound of these songs, they are very theatrical and large, and not afraid to build and build to an embarrassing emotional peak, like a Roy Orbison song. There is a lot of complex orchestration, but still a pretty clean sound. I mean, not my cup of tea, really, but then what is. No very much, and certainly nothing popular. I'm a little concerned with these folks, to tell you the truth. That one of them might be a giant egomaniac, or a dangerous narcissist, and the others are going along for the ride, for the excitement but eventually will find that they are the fuel that is necessarily to feed this one enormous furnace of a person. I mean, I'm just guessing, and I have no idea who is who-- I'm just trying to interpret from the music.

I like this idea in this song "No Cars Go"-- I THINK. That gets my attention, anyway. "Between the click of the light and the start of the dream"-- what does that mean to you? In my experience, that's as close to death as I usually feel in a day. Is that the place where NO CARS GO? Even in Canada, that's the best you can do? How about Hudson Bay or something. I WANT Canada to be, perhaps, more than it can, in reality, in a practical way, be.

I like songs about dreams, and dream worlds. The record starts out really pretty nicely with a noisy pop song, struggling to keep its jauntiness under control, but then the singer eventually breaks into full emotional mode and sounds just like David Byrne. It seems to me if someone in your band sings like David Byrne, you'd let someone else sing a little more, preferably the woman in the band. Think how much better Talking Heads would have been if Tina Weymouth would have sang most of the time. I'd still be able to listen to them.

Okay, I know that's kind of personal, but I didn't get this old so I could go around worrying about offending people. Especially not a bunch of artsy fartsy Canadians. The second song sounds like... come on... it sounds EXACTLY like this song from about 15 years ago by... shit! I can't think of it! Someone help me out here!

Okay, I'm going to have to put this song on my COMPUTER until I can figure it out. That's the kind of thing that can ruin several days for an OCD guy like myself. Why do I BEND OVER BACKWARD for these people?


Melissa Scherrer said...

I think someone needs to review the design choices made for this blog. Is this supposed to be some sort of Christmas theme?

Anthony Franciosa said...

I am sorry to not respond to this earlier, but only recently did the design department draw my attention to this comment. The color GREEN represents MOSS, and the color RED represents PROBLEMS.

It is sad that the red/green color combination is so associated with Christmas. I try to put that out of my mind, because I think red and green are the best looking colors together. You will often see that combination in my wardrobe!

I realize that we are slaves to public opinion, and if EVERYONE sees red and green and thinks Christmas, then that is a problem. You know, it's kind of the same thing with Red White and Blue. I don't want to see those colors and think about bombing and killing people in other countries in order to increase profits for certain corporations, but it's hard not to think of that. I WANT to think of Godard's color schemes in movies, or even those 1960s mods wearing a Union Jack shirt.

No matter what we do, we can't eliminate the associations people have with colors. The only thing I can try to do is to be forceful about it. Here is RED AND GREEN, and it's not about Jesus, Santa Claus, or selling a lot of stupid bullshit to people who can't afford it.

I hope that answers your question, Melissa. Your readership and formally generously rewarded contributions are important to us.

Anthony Franciosa