What to Look Forward To
Arcade Fire, Reflektor
Arcade Fire looks to continue their run as one of indie music’s best with their fourth full-length album, Reflektor due out October 28. Taking home the Grammy’s Album of the Year award for The Suburbs in 2011, the band has continually progressed their sound. Towering moments like the swelling climaxes of “Ready to Start” and “Half Light II” and the methodic synth expanses of “Sprawl II” brought together the grandiosity and urgency of Funerals and Neon Bible into a cohesive concept album.
The title track on their new album Reflektor suggests Arcade Fire is taking their music from concept album to high art. James Murphy produced the album and his influence is immediately evident on “Reflektor,” which builds off a LCD Soundsystem-inspired groove of synthesized percussion, keyboard tones, and looping bass lines before bursting open into a dizzying whorl of strings and echoing choir of voices. Along with Murphy’s musical influence, a guest appearance by current Mercury Prize nominee David Bowie helps “Reflektor” stand apart from all other Arcade Fire songs.
The music video, which is shot entirely in black and white and features distressing surrealist imagery, including a person completely covered by shards of mirror and band members wearing giant Michael Myers-type masks of their own heads, reflects the obscurities and strangeness of the lyrics. “Reflektor” has yet to offer up its full meaning even after numerous listens, but I look forward to spending a more time with it, and the rest of the album when it hits shelves.
It is close to two years since Poliça released their debut album Give You The Ghost to critical praise. Its Valentine’s Day release date said a lot about where lead singer Channy Leaneagh was at in her life—Roma di Luna had disbanded and her marriage had just fallen apart. Songs like the nether worldly “Violent Games” and “Lay Your Cards Out” were claustrophobic and full of dread, imbued with the pain, sadness and confusion Leaneagh was feeling.
The effect of Leaneagh’s auto-tuned vocals haunting a landscape of unrelenting drums, waves of bellowing synthesizers, and buzzing bass grooves on Give You The Ghost is powerful and immediate. And the praise came from all directions including from the Grammy-toting lead singer of Bon Iver, Justin Vernon, who in a Rolling Stone interview said of Poliça, “They’re the best band I’ve ever heard.”
Vernon got his wish to collaborate with Poliça on their new album, Shulamith, where he lent backing vocals on the single “Tiff,” a song that continues with Give Me The Ghost’s themes of self-doubt and antipathy, but turns it outward in a critique of the external forces putting pressure on us to be and look a certain way.
Shulamith is a female Hebrew name meaning “peace,” and though songs like “Tiff” and the dynamic “Chain My Name” are assertive, there is a certain amount of peace present, which is founded in Poliça’s mounting confidence. The band is coming into its own and Shulamith is set up to be even bigger than their debut.
Music for this article was provided by Electric Fetus. Be sure to secure your spot for a special in-store performance by Poliça at the Electric Fetus’ Twin Cities location on October 21st by pre-ordering Shulamith today (offer only for first 250 orders).
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