Recently, we found a copy of the new Arcade Fire album under a rock somewhere, or maybe it was under the sea. It doesn’t really matter. The point is we think it’s REALLY FUCKIN’ GOOD, if you like that kind of thing. Just to be sure, we focus-grouped it with several key Phawker demographics. Here’s the feedback we overheard from behind the two-way mirror:

mick_by_andy.thumbnail.jpg“At times The Arcade Fire?s Neon Bible strikes me as the album David Bowie would give his blue eye to make. The opening track, ?Black Mirror?, has some of the menacing creep of a Thin White Duke deep cut. Other times the album sounds like U2 as produced by the heavy hand of Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd?s The Wall, Lou Reed?s Berlin). Now and then, as on ?No Cars Go?, I’m reminded of a friend in college who tried to sell me on the great tunes behind the bloated productions on a Tears for Fears album. There?s so much sound and fury, breathy vocals, and slowly building military snare rolls that I feel like a wall needs to be erected for John Cusack to stand beneath, in the pouring rain, with a boom box hoisted on his shoulder. However, what makes this album more impressive than I would otherwise expect is that, despite drama too high for my britches, The Arcade Fire displays the ability to tap into some of rock ?n roll?s humble joys. The parenthetically entitled ?(Antichrist Television Blues)?, for instance, cruises along on a rockabilly beat. When the ghostly choir of backing vocals and handclaps enter two thirds of the way through the song, the song takes on the goofy charm of something Roy Wood or Freddie Mercury might have had a hand in. This is a fabulously constructed piece of ?80s pomp. I couldn?t be more sincere. Had I spent the ?80s dying my hair black and moping over unrequited love, I’d be over this like flies on sherbert. As it was, my means of self-loathing and self-pity took other forms of expression. Objectively, I can only say that this is a tight, fantastic, gripping album. Subjectively, I can only feel like buying a bag of dirtweed and blasting Funhouse instead. But that’s my fault, not theirs.” –ED KING, EMBITTERED ROCK SNOB


“The Neon Bible is, of course, the television. The Boob Toob, and the war, and how the two feed each other is a recurring theme and the evil muse that fuels the band’s operartic angst — if you’ve never heard these guys, imagine if Wagner was a Canadian indie-rocker instead of a Third Reich favorite. And good on ’em. “Intervention,” just might be the best anti-war song of this whole war, that righteous organ swelling behind towering gospel vocals that climax into an epic Greek chorus of recrimination. You go, Canada!”–AMY Z. QUINN, CONCERNED AMERICAN, ALSO SOMEBODY’S MOTHER


biglbowski.thumbnail.jpg“I listened to it last night — I think it’s shit. Do you want somebody saying that it’s shit? I didn’t hate the first one, but it wore thin with me pretty quickly. I just don’t feel a deep connection with the tunes. This new one feels REALLY thin to me, as if they were struggling to work up some new ideas. (But that’s only after one listen. I rode it out last night, but the last 20 minutes of listening felt like a chore.) Maybe part of the problem is that every ninny indie kid in the Western Hemisphere completely spooged his pants over the first disc, and when I finally made time for it, I was like, “yeah, OK, what’s the fuss?” I mean, there are lots of dead people in my life, too, but I’m not lookin’ for a Kasey Kasem dedication, y’know?” —JOE WARMINSKY, MUSIC CRITIC, WASHINGTON CITY PAPER

evacartoon.jpg“Far more poetic and momentous than the debut, Neon Bible is richer, heavier and altogether darker and as such the perfect foil for Win Butler’s dramatic, Ian McCulloch-like voice (which is to turn of the century indie-rock what Eddie Vedder’s yarling was to 90’s alt-rock). Makes me think of a Nordic king adorned in heavy, red velvet cape and jeweled crown, walking solemnly into crashing ocean waves at sunset. In short, it’s the perfect winter time album- earnest enough to match the grey, alleyway frigidity of February.”–EVA LIAO, INTERN, POSSIBLY ‘ON’ SOMETHING

[Artwork by Salvador Dali]

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