By Ruben Perez
Indie alt-rock group Arcade Fire return to the music scene after a three-year absence with a shimmering new funk, rock sound on the 2-Disc album “Reflektor.”
The sextet released their breakthrough album “The Suburbs” back in 2010.
The album featured hit singles “Ready to Start,” “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” and “We Used to Wait.”
The first disc of “Reflektor” is a frenzied mix of discoteque pop, including lead single “Reflektor.” a funk, rock-infused track that clocks in at a little over seven minutes.
The track features guest vocals by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, who co-produced the two-disc set.
One of the most memorable tracks on the first disc is “We Exist.” The track features a “Billie Jean”-esque beat that’ll make listeners tap their feet.
“Normal Person” takes us back to the rock roots that made Arcade Fire well-known. “You Already Know” takes some bass guitar scales and builds a shimmering rock song on top of them.
Closing off the first half of the two-disc set is “Joan of Arc,” a synth-punk inspired track that pays homage to the historical heroine.
The second half opens with “Here Comes The Night Time II,” a quaint haunting track that helps transition into “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice).” The track is anything but awful.
There’s a cool relaxing beat and a bit of a Beatles feel to it. Think of it as an homage to the Fab Four’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
The tracks on both discs showcase the vulnerability of lead singer Win Butler’s vocals, especially on “Afterlife.”
The track features Butler dealing with fights, shouting and trying to work it out with his lover.
The lyrics make the track sound like a ballad, but it isn’t. There’s a glimmering feel-good beat to it, making listeners feel that he will make things work out in the end.
One track that will stand out from the rest not because it’s awful, but because of it’s name, “Porno,” featured on the second half of the album, clocks in at a little over six minutes.
The mid-tempo track tells the story of two lovers trying to understand each other through sex.
If the listener listens closely, Butler also sings about how in society women being objectified in society as “sex slaves.” He even calls men “little boys” when they don’t get what they want.
The title in itself makes “Porno” interesting, but when paying close attention to the lyrics, it makes it amazing.
Despite featuring great tracks, “Reflektor” showcases Greek mythology.
One of the featured myths is the story of Orpheus, the master musician whose human flaws kept him from saving his love Eurydice, who is featured in the album artwork. They’re both featured in song titles.
“Reflektor” may only be Arcade Fire’s third album, but it’s their best album to date.
They took a risk with a new sound and it worked. There are a couple of tracks that play out for a bit too long, but it’s okay because that’s how the album is meant to be.
“Reflektor” is now available on iTunes and at local record stores.