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The Arcade Fire - Funeral (Cover Artwork)

The Arcade Fire

The Arcade Fire: FuneralFuneral (2004)
Merge Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: WalkingOnTheMoon
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The best band that no one's heard of that everybody's listening to; that's the only way I can describe the Arcade Fire, I guess. Made up of seven members, plus a bunch of unofficial other members, the band hails from Montreal, Canada, and has been getting quite a lot of buzz lately, and for good rea.

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The best band that no one's heard of that everybody's listening to; that's the only way I can describe the Arcade Fire, I guess. Made up of seven members, plus a bunch of unofficial other members, the band hails from Montreal, Canada, and has been getting quite a lot of buzz lately, and for good reason I suppose. Quite simply, Funeral is one of the most ambitious, beautiful, and captivating records I've ever heard.

The (married) singer's boy/girl vocals, which are reminiscent of the Anniversary at times, fit perfectly with the unique instrumentation, which never fails to hook the listener, yet without being cliché and bland. The ridiculously heartfelt lyrics match each song's tone at all times, making the music that much more meaningful. It's simply beautiful music.

Apparently inspired by four seperate deaths in the band members' families, Funeral contains a set of four songs that mold into one another, each called 'Neighborhood.' The first track itself, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)," is a masterpiece. From the first couple notes, the listener may start to see an actual neighborhood in his/her head. It's strange, and may be due in part to movie themes that deal with suburbia, but it definitely works. It flows into an indie rock / pop number with an uplifting tone and eager vocals. The lyrics compliment the song perfectly, adding to the effect. "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)" is another amazing song, which introduces an accordian, and at times sounds like the B-52s playing aboard a pirate ship. Can't go wrong there.

"Wake Up" is my personal favorite track on the album. With a showering of vocals and powerful instrumentation, it's almost epic, the way the whole song plays out. It's like the happy ending to a breakup, the feeling of finding the meaning of life, after thinking it was lost. The two songs sung solely by the female vocalist, "Haiti" (the country she apparently fled before joining the band), and the album's closer, "In The Backseat," are exceptionally strong, and have the tendency to give chills at times. The latter is especially amazing, a powerful, emotional, sweeping rise to the top, without being overdone. Her voice is almost the exact opposite of what you would hear on a pop record, which isn't to say she can't sing, because it's quite the opposite in fact. She has a great voice, it's just not sugary, and I for one am glad; it fits perfectly.

Simply put, every song on Funeral is a worthy listen, and I've always felt that the best albums require you to listen in order, from start to finish. This is no exception. I've been trying to think of other artists to compare the Arcade Fire to, and while it brings to mind the previously mentioned Anniversary, the fact is, I've never heard an album like this. That's not to say that it's revolutionary in its originality, but I can say that no one does it as well. Each song is its own journey, a trip through the subconscious. This album will get into your head whether you like it or not.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
eatdogs (October 11, 2009)

on of the best debut records ever made.

JahPunk (September 6, 2006)

top's on my list for 04. alive.

Willoughby (August 8, 2006)

This is a HORRIBLE review. Learn how to write.

However, Funeral is an incredible album.

dangertrevor (June 20, 2006)

Yes, they sound like the talking heads. Every band sounds like some other band, it's called inspiration, it's got to start somewhere. I love this band and this album. It's totally great to me and is something much unseen in today's music. Although I don't see how they can be overrated, unless you're trying to be a hipster or something gay like that. It seems to me that music isn't music anymore, it's about being more exclusive, or some gay fashion thing. People don't listen to instrumentals or talent anymore, they just care if a band is new or not, then they quickly outcast that band just to say " I heard them before you and now I don't like them anymore, that's how cool I am." I hate the fuckin scene.

Anonymous (March 14, 2006)

this is truly, beautiful art.

Anonymous (September 3, 2005)

when you have just a spine and no brain you say : this band is soooooooooooo overrated .......just to be cool. you are so cool guys.

Marlon (July 19, 2005)

I knew the queue was backed up but this is ridiculous!

Anonymous (July 19, 2005)

i love this band and all, but i dont understand how one could say they dont know what to compare this to. This band sounds similar to the Talking Heads.

Anonymous (July 18, 2005)

Way overrated. Let's see if we still hear from this band 1-2 years from now.

I bet you not.
This is a hipster band. Nohting more.

Dubar (July 18, 2005)

Mark me down as someone who doesnt "get" this album. Its one thing that its so overrated, but I seriously listened to this thing a few times through and can't find any redeeming factors. Its not even moderately enjoyable to me and then to hear people talk about how its like the best album ever just astonishes me. I guess to each his own but I hope this band doesnt put out another "groundbreaking" album so I never have to hear about them again.
But then again they'll probably break up and the members will form some other band thats more "experimental" and then I'll shoot myself

Anonymous (July 18, 2005)

great album but....the vocals sound like the anniversary???

Anonymous (July 18, 2005)

i don't know about "epic," but there lives shows are pretty fucking cool. anyone who saw them at coachella can vouch for that.
i like this record. not groundbreaking, but at the same time, doesn't sound like anyone else...it has lots of personality. who cares about hype? listen to it and evaluate it yourself.

Anonymous (July 17, 2005)

shouldn't you be reviewing wolf parade instead?

prankish (July 17, 2005)

I can pretty much say this is the most overrated band I've ever heard. Same goes for their "epic" live shows. There is nothing here of substance, I seriously just don't fucking get it. At least with all the other bullshit these scene trash kids love, there's a poppy hook or a catchy riff where I can say "Well, I can see why some douchebag would like this." Such is not the case with The Arcade Fire; I am completely baffled as to how this band garnered any attention whatsoever.

Anonymous (July 17, 2005)

this website shouldn't be named punknews.org any longer.

Anonymous (July 17, 2005)

to the reviewer: you fuckin piece of shit stop repeating what everybody has already said months ago about this record without even truly thinking what you're writing you retard

Anonymous (July 17, 2005)

"best album of the year" dude. this record was LAST YEARS record of the year.

losangelesnigga

Anonymous (July 16, 2005)

I don´t care if a review comes too late. Good Music will last through the decades....so much for that.
I actually think this record is quite good. I can´t understand the buzz everyone made, but its quite good.

Anonymous (July 16, 2005)

this band is the definition of "forgettable"

in a year no one will care about them

Anonymous (July 16, 2005)

Its a good album, but you loose interest incredibly fast. I was surprised by the amount of time it took to stay permamnently out of my cd player.

Its the perfect exercise of an underground novelty out staying its welcome.

Anonymous (July 16, 2005)

why is someone just now reviewing this record... this is a little late dude.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

Uh review is a bad word, replace it with opinion.

My bad.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

I know, I wasn't associating the hype or that last bit at all with my review of the album. Twas just a random observation.

I just didn't enjoy it very much, plain and simple. I'm usually one to ignore what others are saying about a band.

LevitateMe (July 15, 2005)

It may be cool to be indie and the Arcade Fire may be cool, but that doesn't take away from their music. Cool kids don't jump out of your stereo and try to eat you when you play this album.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

*and* these guys

LevitateMe (July 15, 2005)

well then you're probably 16 and an idiot. don't judge an album by it's cover or reviews.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

Meh. It didn't do too much for me minus Neighbourhood #3 which was pretty enjoyable.

If Broken Social Scene didn't get this kind of attention when they released You Forgot It In People then the Arcade Fire definately shouldn't be.

I know it's going to seem close minded/stupid but really it just seems like since emo is on the way out looks like being OMG OH SO INDIE is going to be next thing for kids to hop to these guys (the Arcade Fire) are going to be kinda like the stepping stone for that.

wehavecomeforyourchildren (July 15, 2005)

i just read the second paragraph and half of the third and i have to say that i've never been more turned off to a band. i'm not going to finish reading because i don't want to let this ruin my day.

wehavecomeforyourchildren (July 15, 2005)

not to sound closed-minded, but i can tell i would hate this simply by looking at the cover art and reading the first paragraph of this review.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

man reading some of these comments makes me want to shoot someone in the face, or laugh out loud

or both

get ahold of yourselves

boba_fett (July 15, 2005)

they play these guys on CHOM all the time. i dont see what the big deal is.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

Best album of last year. Too bad some people don't "get" it. I guess not everyone has the ability to understand art.

If you are a music nerd you will probably love this album. If you hate this band, post a better (in your opinion) 2004 album so we can laugh at you.

iamfuckyou (July 15, 2005)

i refuse to listen to this album for the sole reason that every pretentious asshole (not to mention all my annoying ex-girlfriends) LOVE it. i don't even want to hear it.

...and genius logic continues to determine your taste in music. if i had a dollar for every time i heard this type of reasoning, i'd have enough to buy me a slave.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

Overhyped by who, you retards? Critics? Yeah, Godfuckingforbid they all actually like the same record. Um, who else? Your friends? Yeah, fuck I hate it when my friends actually agree on something.

Grow up, you pretentious little shits.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

i dont get interpol

benz (July 15, 2005)

i think a lot of the backlash on this record has to do with how hyped they were.

overhyped? absolutely.

crap? certainly not.

everyone is citing these guys as "so last year", which is pretty pretentious in and of itself. others are criticizing this record for being sold in mega chains and the like. that doesn't actually change how good a record is.

to each his own, i suppose.

-benz

ElVaquero (July 15, 2005)

"The best band that no one's heard of that everybody's listening to; that's the only way I can describe the Arcade Fire, I guess."

I guess?

That sums up the review right there.

Decent album.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

ahahahaha...everyone is like "whaaaa...i don't like it because other people do. ohhhh, i'm so punk...i'm not trendy". ahahahaha. dorks.

LevitateMe (July 15, 2005)

I'll send it to you on AIM if you want

soulbleed (July 15, 2005)

i still haven't heard this. maybe i should.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

i refuse to listen to this album for the sole reason that every pretentious asshole (not to mention all my annoying ex-girlfriends) LOVE it. i don't even want to hear it.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

remember when this band mattered? or even was somewhat buzzworthy? you know, a year ago? holy fuck. are you guys going to review clap your hands say yeah!'s album in july 2006 as well, just to keep this "year behind the times" thing going?

this record is way overrated, by the way. the only jam that you'll end up replaying after 5 spins is the first one, which is brilliant. the rest of the album wears on you harder than stars' record does. do yourself a favor and pick up the nine black alps cd or CYHSY's cd instead.

---------------------------

Anyone who reccomends picking up anything by Nine Black Alps probably should be ignored. Come on, they're only marginally better than Nickleback or Puddle of Mudd. Boring grunge revivalist shit.

I absolutely adore every track I've heard from Funeral.. which is only about 3, but still. If I wasn't broke...

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Pretentious scenesters Unite!

Barkley

Ps someone owes Wayne from Flaming Lips some royalties and that someone is this fucking piece of garbage band.

MarkieStabone (July 15, 2005)

sickboi -
it's just your standard run of the mill indie rock. i have this album, and it's good, but i just don't understand the hype. i'd say 7 or 8 out of 10.

sickboi (July 15, 2005)

Not one of you retarded fucks told me what they sound like. I'm assuming:

-crybaby crap
or
-"danceable" horseshit

BlAquaCadetZstyles (July 15, 2005)

"a 5..... come on.... Thats saying this is one of the best records ever. And without hearing this I doubt its anything on par with Circle Takes."

As someone who's actually took the time to hear both and is a fan of both...this album is probably better than As The Roots Undo.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

way to be on top of this one, guys...this album only came out about a year ago.

Inspection12e (July 15, 2005)

Overhyped crap!

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

wow. this album is amazing. no different than Good Charlotte? what in the hell is wrong with you people

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

they sell this at Target.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

remember when this band mattered? or even was somewhat buzzworthy? you know, a year ago? holy fuck. are you guys going to review clap your hands say yeah!'s album in july 2006 as well, just to keep this "year behind the times" thing going?

this record is way overrated, by the way. the only jam that you'll end up replaying after 5 spins is the first one, which is brilliant. the rest of the album wears on you harder than stars' record does. do yourself a favor and pick up the nine black alps cd or CYHSY's cd instead.

LevitateMe (July 15, 2005)

haha, you're on a role man

OverDefined (July 15, 2005)

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO this record is terrible!!!! It's completely derivative and the vocals are awful. Over-rated more than anything ever.

Leave this shit to Pitchfork please.

sethcohen (July 15, 2005)

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah got mentioned in Entertainment Weekly this week.

Karasu (July 15, 2005)

a 5..... come on.... Thats saying this is one of the best records ever. And without hearing this I doubt its anything on par with Circle Takes.

Scores for killing my will to hear this band.

LevitateMe (July 15, 2005)

and I bet you're the guy who gave The Unseen a 10

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

SO overrated.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

1978?!??!!

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

"montreal canada" that shit always annoys me, it's like saying "alkaline trio, hailing from Chicago USA.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

its like this is the first time anyones heard an indie rock band. i guess their image is neat but from a musical stand point this band is boring. there are few good bands today and its a shame that so much attention and hype is wasted on this one. this band is no different than good charolette, its nothing but mood and image.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

Clap Your Hands and Say No...its good. it really is. but it doesnt deserve this exposure. Chris Martin fucking licks their balls for gods sake. Lets all move on with our lives, its fucking July. Not saying we wont see how they follow it up and if they pull an Interpol...and you know how that went. In the meantime, there has to be something new out there that deserves serious attention. Maybe something even better. That my friends is The New Lows. www.thenewlows.net

swingline (July 15, 2005)

it's good. that's all.

SomeoneAnonymous (July 15, 2005)

This cd is good, not great. I'd say about 6 or 7 of the songs are really good.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

"most over-rated album i've heard recently. i just cannot understand the hype. yes, it's good, but all this "one of the best albums ever" bullshit has got to go."

took the words out of my mouth.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

this band is so punk

jheisel (July 15, 2005)

the anniversary? are you smoking crack? this score is for the poorly-written review.

Archangel (July 15, 2005)

Score is for the review. I finished the first paragraph and called it quits. There's something to be said for run-on sentences, but you're not Dave Barry.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

Worst band ever. And I was open minded enough to try to listen to this. But I couldnt do it.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

1. because its a really great album
2. more people should listen and know about this band
3. fuck you

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

why are people still talking about this? get on with your lives.

tristan (July 15, 2005)

I've been hearing it non-stop for a year and it's still good enough to give me goosebumps. How many records can you say that about?

benz (July 15, 2005)

I enjoyed it a lot. not the second coming of awesomeness as the hype machine would have you believe, but its good.

-benz

LevitateMe (July 15, 2005)

well it is a pretty bad review

inagreendase (July 15, 2005)

Yeah, um, this review has been sitting around since March, so apologies in advance to the reviewer.

NoUse4aScnName00 (July 15, 2005)

Merge is really something. I think their older catalouge sucks but with both Spoon and Arcade Fire, they are definately doing something right.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

bout time this got reviewed. great album

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

yeah, this is ok, not as good as it's made out to be but pretty good. i give it a 7. rebellion (lies) is great.

LevitateMe (July 15, 2005)

it is one of the best albums ever

colin (July 15, 2005)

most over-rated album i've heard recently. i just cannot understand the hype. yes, it's good, but all this "one of the best albums ever" bullshit has got to go.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

errrr.....aint this a little too late?

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