Monday, March 10, 2008

7.) Funeral - Arcade Fire (ST. PATTY'S 2008)


Arcade Fire
Merge Records.

SCQ Rating: 87%

At first listen, Funeral blended well with the indie landscape of 2004. Their percussive strut wasn’t any more aware of dance-rock than Franz Ferdinanz’s, Win Butler’s frantic wail was comparable to Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, and like their aforementioned colleagues, Arcade Fire had one big hit that everyone knew. While Funeral certainly fared well with critics, the fanbase was growing everywhere – here in Canada and abroad – until it was no longer comparable to but reigning over the indie-rock explosion. Four years after that hype, it’s easier to believe this record has aged than to actually prove it. A classic, this might be.

As the title may have subtly implied, this is a far moodier album than the majority on my Top 8 Drinking Albums for St. Patty's Day. And as such, Arcade Fire have several well-placed slower songs like ‘Neighborhood #4’ and ‘Crown of Love’. Like their gracious song-mates, these ballads maintain the same strong thump that drives the rest of the album forward, as if the pace never really slowed as it instead left room to reflect.

‘Wake Up’ does just that, reviving our spirits in the same way ‘When the Levees Break’ pounds in to close Zeppelin IV. Unlike many recent successful indie-bands of the North, Funeral feels deftly Canadian; its neighbourhoods capped in snow can be nowhere but our own backyard, its restlessly unfaltering heartbeat feels implausibly like ours. Despite its morose subject matter, Funeral is celebrating the unity we can find in life... and I can't think of many better days to share than St. Patty's Day.

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