Arcade Fire are back with 'Reflektor' - what are the critics saying?
Following the seminal Funeral, Arcade Fire destroyed the idea of the difficult second album with Neon Bible and furthered its campaign to be considered one of the world's greatest bands with The Suburbs - a stellar record that most critics chose as one of the albums of 2012.
Arcade Fire, In Fetching Blue Boilersuits
Now, armed with production from James Murphy, the band returns with its fourth studio album Reflektor - an ambitious double record that critics are comparing to U2's Achtung Baby and Radiohead's Kid A as a career-defining, turning point album.
"They've re-affirmed their place as one of the best bands in the world and have created an album that is insightful, emotional, fun and just damn amazing," said Absolute Punk.
"It's a brave and sometimes baffling album, broaching difficult themes; though faced with a series of such unforgiving electro-sonic maelstroms, one may hanker for the touches of folksy pastoralism that lightened earlier AF albums," wrote The Independent.
"The finish provides a slow comedown from the buzz of the album's first half--which by itself ranks with Arcade Fire's best, most challenging work. The textural experiments of Part 2 can't keep pace," wrote the Chicago Tribune.
"Reflektor is closer to turning-point classics such as U2's Achtung Baby and Radiohead's Kid A--a thrilling act of risk and renewal by a band with established commercial appeal and a greater fear of the average, of merely being liked," said Rolling Stone, in one of the most positive reviews.
Clearly, the Canadian indie-rockers are offering up a different sound on Reflektor - a dancier sound that appears to be rooted in frontman Win Butler and his wife Regine's recent trip to Haiti.
"There was a band I felt like changed me musically [in Haiti], just really opened me up to this huge, vast amount of culture and influence I hadn't been exposed to before, which was really life-changing," he told Rolling Stone.
"Going to Carnival for the first time and seeing rara music, which is a kind of street music with all of these horns and African percussion. . . I remember being on a beach at three in the morning, and there was a voodoo drummer playing, and he had been dancing for like, four hours with kids and teenagers and they started to get the spirit. . . . It really kind of makes you feel like a hack being in a rock band, having musical experiences like that," he added.