Arcade Fire - Reflektor

Ready to start the fire

Arcade Fire’s fourth full-length, recorded in New York, Montreal and Jamaica, with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and Eno alumnus Marcus Dravs, is a two-disc affair, though that billing is somewhat generous, given a total running time of 75 minutes. Advance single Reflektor – Arcade Fire’s Let’s Dance, by way of Sound & Vision – points the way: these are meaty, beaty songs, many of them driven by lurching, low-slung bass and disco drums with a hint of Stones voodoo about them. The Jamaican influence is apparent, too, in the dubby bass and ping-pong guitars of Flashbulb Eyes, and the carnival fanfare in Here Comes The Night Time.

Elsewhere, It’s Never Over evokes Another Brick In The Wall, and Joan Of Arc builds around Radiohead-like arpeggios before dissolving into white noise. And after Bowie’s fleeting guest vocal on the title track, there’s an even more surprising cameo when the disembodied voice of Jonathan Ross arrives to introduce the band at the start of You Already Know. The old cliché about double albums rings true – trim off a few of the weaker tracks and elongated codas and you’d have a five-star single disc – but, as it stands, Reflektor is Arcade Fire’s most diverse and sonically interesting work to date. 

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Sonobox | cat no tbc (2CD)

Reviewed by Tom Seabrook
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