Arcade Fire, one of Canada’s finest musical wonders have made their long-awaited comeback. Everything Now, the title track of the forthcoming album, and Creature Comfort combine to create a total 9 minutes and 47 seconds of singles that have been presented to us. Both take very different approaches in terms of encompassing elements of Arcade Fire’s sounds but provide a pleasant insight into what may be featured on the album, which is due to be released on July 28.
Everything Now was the first sneak peak the band released this year, played during a secret set at Primavera Sound in Barcelona. The distinctive vocals and a sense of community and togetherness woven throughout the song identify that Arcade Fire’s heavy in-group collaboration may still be present on their forthcoming album… and has presented listeners with a familiar yet fresh introduction to what is to come.
The song’s underlying piano melody is reminiscent of the Strictly Ballroom soundtrack (John Paul Young- Love is in the Air), whilst elements of a raw exploration of music and the environment through the incorporation of the Pygmy Flute. The blend of earthy instrumentals and modern beats is not something new to the band. By working your way through their discography from Haiti (Funeral 2004) to Flashbulb Eyes (Reflektor 2014), the display of musical experimentation within the realms of the band’s signature sound is evident.
The lyrics may also bring attention to the materialistic demands of the current generation. With an indication of the band’s interest in current events, values and positioning also solidified through the protest song, I Give You Power, released during Trump’s inauguration into the Whitehouse, Everything Now continues on this lyrical path.
The most heart-warming and familiar elements of Everything Now would be the chorus of voices joining together to create that atmospheric togetherness that related back to the fundamentals of the band- who incorporate many artists into their touring and album-producing collective. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a village of talented individuals lead by a tightly-knit band to produce an Arcade Fire song, and boy, is it worth it. Everything Now, with its familiar elements taken from the depths of the band’s, leaves listeners yearning for more.
The behind-the-scenes elements of the album production are evident in Creature Comfort. Thomas Bangalter [Daft Punk] has translated the rigid electronic sound of Daft Punk into a catchy loop woven throughout the depths of the song. Despite this scratchy new element, there is a sense of sweetness that lies beneath it, brought by the innocent piano melody that weaves its way in and out of the song. When comparing the two singles side by side, the musical spectrum of the soon-to-be-released album can be identified. It seems those distinctly warming piano melodies and all-together-now vocal outbursts are here to stay.
The lyrics are a juxtaposition to the somewhat sweet melody that becomes increasingly present throughout the song’s progression. With references to suicide, body image, and self-harm, Arcade Fire’s awareness of important issues and challenges are again presented. However, the juxtaposition is not to be mistaken for the band glorifying suicide by not embodying a darker sound. This approach allows such issues to be discussed and highlighted through a more palatable and digestible sound.
When comparing the two singles side by side, the musical spectrum of the soon-to-be-released album can be identified. It seems those distinctly warming piano melodies and all-together-now vocal outbursts are here to stay.
The clever marketing teasers and creativity displayed through the release of these two singles and the album to come may also indicate that the personality of the band that we have grown to love and cherish will still be present in their future endeavours. With the album’s release so close, I hope an Australian tour is soon to follow.