As Arcade Fire is currently riding the crest of their popularity, the band’s newest release could have consisted solely of white noise and people would have talked about how groundbreaking it was. Thankfully, Reflektor is so much more than that.
A big step up from 2010’s The Suburbs, the album feels like their most mature offering to date—both lyrically and musically. The instrumental arrangements are as complex as ever, but producer and LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy gives their sound a new edge, distorting and isolating different components of the music until it all dovetails into an euphoric climax.
Highlight tracks like “Here Comes the Night Time” and “We Exist” are both strongly reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s first album, yet they also manage to sound like something new entirely. Those two tracks are particularly good, but the album as a whole might as well be a greatest hits compilation—there doesn’t seem to be a single weak song.
Reflektor is Arcade Fire’s longest album, with each song clocking in at about six minutes. The length of the tracks could have made the album sound bloated or unfocused, but instead it manages to be more on-point musically than The Suburbs riffing on a wide variety of influences from Haitian rave music to Greek mythology. Even glam rock is present—David Bowie makes a vocal appearance.
What results is an album that is both joyous and angsty; cacophonous and melodic; and above all, intimate. It sounds like nothing they’ve ever produced before, or anything that anybody has produced, and it’s all the better for it.