The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Music Review-Arcade Fire: Reflektor

By Kenney Kost/editor-in-chief

Photo courtesy Merge
Photo courtesy Merge

Arcade Fire chose risk over comfortable formulas, and the payoff is a complete reinvention of its sound and possibly its best album to date with Reflektor.

Reflektor is a double album, each side possessing its own sound without losing the identity of the whole. With a new producer, the famed electronic dance music producer James Murphy, behind the board, the band showcases a new, more experimental energy this time around.

Volume One opens with the title track “Reflektor,” a seven-and-a-half minute blast of art-rock churned through a disco.

With singers Win Butler and Regine Chassagne singing lines back and forth like “It’s a reflection of a reflection of a reflection and I see you on the other side” over syncopated beats and funk-driven guitar splashes, the departure from the folksy, classic rock from previous albums is clear.

The standout track from Volume One, “Here Comes The Night” is a brilliant mix of Haitian and African percussion over Talking Heads-style instrumentation and experimentation.

Guitars eerily move in and out of the rhythm leading into the chorus filled with a playful piano up into a vocal crescendo and back. 

The song closes with a screeching guitar solo and the entire band chanting, “Here comes the night time.”

If the theme of the first volume was about unity through music, then Volume Two aligns more with Greek tragedy, separation and reunion.

The two songs, “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” and “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” are loosely based on the story of the violent separation and eventual reunion of lovers Eurydice and Orpheus.

“Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” is a percussion-driven piece with a deep, groovy bass line and Velvet Underground-tinged acoustic guitars slowly strumming and building into the climax.

“But when I say I love you, your silence covers me. Oh, Eurydice, it’s an awful sound,” sang by Butler speaks to the pain of knowing the love that once existed in a relationship isn’t there anymore and that it takes more energy to stay than to walk away.

“It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” takes on a darker tone reminiscent of early Joy Division and is given from Eurydice’s point of view as Chassagne answers back that love never ceases to exist.

“Hey, Orpheus,” the entire band chants. “I’m behind you, don’t turn around. I can find you. Now that it’s over, now when you’re older, then you will discover, that it’s never over,” sings Chassagne.

The album closer “Supersymmetry” reveals much about the mystical quality of the album. The 11-minute, slow-pulsing song built around dispersed African percussion and a pulsing bass line builds along with strange synthesizers then melts away about halfway through into pure ambient experimentation. This gives the album no real resolution and leaves the listener pondering the meaning.

That is the point, though — to find one’s own interpretation of meaning and substance within this beautiful mix of genres and inspiration.

Reflektor is a musical masterpiece.

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