March 17, 2022

Arcade Fire - "Lightning I, II"

Arcade Fire has returned! After five years, the band has announced their new album, WE, and shared the first single(s).

Arcade Fire have been known for some lengthy album rollouts throughout their tenure. It happened with their fantastic Reflektor and they took things to a new level with their bland and forgettable fifth record, Everything Now. Recently, fans began to receive postcards with music notes and a message that read "WE missed you" hinting that, once again, the band were gearing up to release their long awaited sixth record. This was a more simple approach, but the payoff is a return to form. "Lightning I, II" is not one, but two new tracks by the band and the tracks are glued together at the seams. Things start off with an organ grind and the sound of the band coming back to life. They don't plug in, but rather tune things up. Strings find their cues, guitars begin to strum, a drum roll kicks it all into place and the crackles transform into crystal clear imagery in a truly grand and cinematic sense. Slowly, they shed their throwback, baroque-pop vibes and relish in their new, lavish production which comes courtesy of Nigel Godrich. As the song finds its way, we're treated to glassy pianos that give them their more modern tones and kicks us back into gear. Then, the pace quickens and Win Butler shouts a classic "One! Two! Three! Four!" and the band hits a charge like we haven't heard from them in a decade. The rhythm picks up and the band rekindles their old glory for one of their most triumphant and euphoric songs in years. This isn't the James Murphy assisted brush with dance-punk or whatever they tried on their last album, but a return to form from one of the most promising bands of a generation. Funeral ushered in a time where real instruments took to the forefront of popular music once again and gave us a shift from the standard garage rock into something that felt more elevated and advanced. This wasn't a group who picked up instruments and decided to form a band, but ones who studied and put in the work to create an album that would define a decade. Their call and response style of shouting choruses to an audience that would return the favor with even more enthusiasm made their shows feel like a community coming together and with "Lightning I, II" it feels like the band has finally come home.

WE is out May 6 via Columbia.

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