With the new album “We”, Arcade Fire has found its flame

8:00 am, May 5, 2022

This is a record from afar. If we want to understand where we, the sixth album by Canadian group Arcade Fire, draws on its incandescent beauty, we have to go back twenty -seven years. At the time, Win Butler, its singer and composer, was privileged to attend, at the age of 15, a poetry reading. I’m waiting of its author, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, one of the last representatives of the Beat Generation, who personally came to declare it in his high school. “I didn’t know this event had such an impact on me. During all these years, I haven’t reopened this poetry collection, A Coney Island in the Mind. A few months ago, when I had the opportunity to find it, I discovered to my surprise that these verses fed all my music that I didn’t know existed. I cried over it. During all these years, this man’s voice hasn’t left me, it has entered my brain. »

An album with a chapter like a pop opera

From the poet who died in 2021, we find this fragment of the verse, I am waiting for the Age of Anxiety »in the opening title (Age of Anxiety) on an album that is chaptered like a pop opera with its pianos, guitars and majestic chords rising against the backdrop of electronic beats.

At 18 square meters in our New Orleans studio, we returned to the spirit of our beginnings

Since the explosionBurial in 2004, when the Montréal group released their dead into punk rage music adorned with field violins and accordions, we watched with each new album for this explosion that the pandemic and imprisonment seems to have been offered to David Bowie’s favorite artists at the end of his career. “The health crisis forced us to review all our plans: suddenly, the world stopped and the borders closed when we were just starting a new registration. It is not known if the group will survive it. That is why that, at 18 square meters in our studio in New Orleans, we returned to the state of mind when we started, when we recorded Burial at $ 10,000 “continue with the singer. “We went back to the basics, songs going on, without the production skills, with just a piano and a guitar, continued Régine Chassagne, with the city of Win Butler. We found ourselves in a room that wanted to express our whole soul. »

melancholic trip

Produced with Nigel Godrich, the historic director of the Radiohead group, this seven -track item is presented as a diptych that embraces the same orchestral movement in all the comforts of a melancholic ride. Stunning. After the first part transcribes the loud lyrical flights of the feeling of impermanence in a world lost under our feet, the second part wants to be the opposite, or let’s say the resolution, in the form of an unconditional love expressed especially to their child. (Unconditional I, Lookout Kid). “I have always thought that the sun cannot be separated from its shadow, meaning of singer dad. We see this in Motown hits: the music is unstoppable dance while the lyrics are catchy. »

I think Bowie is looking for the same thing as Lennon and we are looking for the same thing as Bowie

Except for the Who-style guitar reels on the single The Lightning I, II, a host of referential echos crossed this album whose high point remains millefeuille End of Empire I-IV, retracing the Lennonian seal on the last fragments of a West marked at its end. on A Day of Life (Beatles) sa ­paranoid android (Radiohead), pop music is enjoyed with these songs combining three compositions into one, accompanied by numerous harmonic winks. “We feel like we are like animals living in the forest where everyone drinks from the same source, said the songwriter couple. When we recorded the title Reflector with David Bowie at the Electric Lady studio in New York, he told us: “Oh, the last time I came here with John Lennon for the title of Fame.” I think Bowie is looking for the same thing as Lennon and we are looking for the same thing as Bowie, but also Duke Ellington, the Pixies or New Order. »

They made it a noble baroque work. Regarding this generous piece, curious minds will notice the mention of Geoff Barrow, of the Portishead group, on guitar, the sample of the Montreal metro call sign “Prochaine station” and the presence of singer Peter Gabriel in concluding title, we. Why? Because, just as Lawrence Ferlinghetti served as Win Butler’s trigger, the former Genesis singer served as the musical mainstay for its co-founder in his teens. “I grew up in Montreal, but my family is from Haiti, explanation by Régine Chassagne. In an era without the Internet, Peter Gabriel was the only singer to provide access to the entire palette of rhythms and songs in a world that is not in mainstream culture. It was so precious to me. » His albums are titled Under emphasis height. With wethey were able to give him the answer.

We ***

Released May 6 (Sony Music).

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