Arcade Fire have returned in 2010 and hit the ground running...
Lawrence Poole

13:52 10th August 2010

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If their sparkling return to the live arena is any barometer, Arcade Fire are in a good place right now. Rapturously received sets on both sides of the pond (mixing it up with the indie glitterati at Hackney Empire, webcasting at Madison Square Garden) left disciples of the Montreal septet drooling in anticipation for the follow-up to 2007’s second album offering, 'Neon Bible'. Prior to giving its successor 'The Surburbs' the once over though, Gigwise wondered if, like a football team taking their training session form into the big match games, Aracde Fire’s recent live confidence has been instilled by their work in the studio.

It seems so as, once again produced by Markus Dravs, the Quebec seven-piece led by the bewitching Win Butler and Régine Chassagne have made their most fully-formed, complete and conceptual record to date. Scanning in at 16-tracks and bookended by tantalising tasters from the title track, 'The Suburbs' is a beautifully crafted and judged record.

Blending moments of subtle, yet string-soaked majesty ('Half Light I', 'Sprawl I') with trademark tub-thumping, punk-infused indie-rock ('Month Of May'), it’s a real cave of musical treasures to explore and devour.

Comeback single, 'We Used To Wait', is undoubtedly the big crossover hit, which was sensible chosen to return the band to fray, with it’s driving Depeche Mode-esque bassline, but there are other moments elsewhere, which hit home just as hard – namely the wonderfully melodious, yet utterly dark 'City With No Children'. Only 'Rococo' falls a little flat, the foray into chamber pop not entirely convincing.

Once again violins, harpsichords and xylophones are sprinkled amply throughout to bring to the boil that layered sound, which captivated so many hearts with 'Funeral' all those years ago. All in all, whether in the studio or in the live arena, Arcade Fire have returned in 2010 and hit the ground running.

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