Behind the hype, behind the ‘indie-darlings’ epithet that has followed Arcade Fire and behind the anticipation of their new release The Suburbs, there is actually a record; a cohesive, decent record. But, most importantly, there’s a desperately needed reality check.

Welcome to the modern indie scene, where hyperbolic expectations run as rampant as Leafs fans’ dreams of a Stanley Cup. We all need to step back, breathe, and realize what is actually in front of us. The Suburbs is a good record; it’s a step above a lot of rock records that have been or will be released this year. But no matter how you cut it, and no matter how you analyze and scrutinize, it’s still just another Arcade Fire record. It’s pretty indie pop, for sure, but the clamour is excessive.

The record’s strength is its cohesion and its subject matter. The lyrics are focused, and the mood is constantly revisited through the different musical phrases of sixteen tracks. It’s a consistent examination of suburban life as reflected upon by a group that has now grown into a major force in modern music; it’s a record about the tenderness of suburban anonymity and the sharp frustration of change. Arcade Fire deserves credit for this focused reflection, but musically – which is kind of important – the album crawls along.

If you’re a fan then you will probably love it – and think I’m an idiot – but if you’re expecting this record to renew your love with a band that hasn’t really ‘had it’ since their first album, then you will be disappointed. Props to Butler’s reticent lyrics this time out – he should be applauded for bottling his dystopian sentiments – but the rest of the record hardly matches up. Best tracks are “Modern Man”, “Half-Light 1”, and “Suburban War”. Also, it really is too long.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. The Suburbs
02. Ready To Start
03. Modern Man
04. Rococo
05. Empty Room
06. City With No Children
07. Half Light 1
08. Half Light 2 (No Celebration)
09. Suburban War
10. Month Of May
11. Wasted Hours
12. Deep Blue
13. We Used To Wait
14. Sprawl 1 (Flatland)
15. Sprawl 2 (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
16. The Suburbs (Continued)

Run Time: 1:03:57
Release Date: 08.03.2010