Wednesday, December 2, 2009

NxEW Canadian Album Hall of Fame Finalist : Arcade Fire's Funeral

[Note: Originally posted at NxEW, my lovely blog home, which is being nominated for 6 (!!) 2009 Canadian Blog Awards!]

Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)
Merge Records
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Really, who didn't see this coming? From the bright piano tinkling of the opening seconds of "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)," to the triumphant swell and fade of strings in the final seconds of "In the Backseat," Funeral maintains its artistic tension and delights with orchestral beauty. Win Butler and Régine Chassagne's voices, at times urgent and discomforting, complement the ambitious instrumentalists in theatricality. Not a singles album by any stretch of the imagination-- although it did produce five (Neighborhood #1, #2, #3, Rebellion (Lies) and Haiti), Funeral grabs a hold of you for the duration of its 48 minutes and paints a musical landscape that lingers long after its last notes. And boy, does it grow on you over time.

There's little doubt as to why Funeral remains one of the most highly regarded, most critically acclaimed and best-selling indie (over half a million sold) records in not just Canada, but the world. It garnered near-perfect rankings and scores with international music critics, landing on more "best of" lists than could be counted with all your fingers and toes. It was nominated for the Grammy for Best Alternative Rock Album and Arcade Fire won Songwriters Of The Year at the Junos for three of Funeral's singles. Despite its name, the album injected a shudder of life in the Canadian independent music scene. This album also helped launch the formidable careers of successful Canadian independent artists Final Fantasy and Bell Orchestre. So although the album was inspired by deaths, many regard Funeral as a milestone in the coming of age of Canadian independent music.

Big name fans of Arcade Fire include David Bowie, U2, US President Barack Obama and director Spike Jonze, who reportedly said that he listened to Funeral while writing the screenplay for his adaptation of the popular children's book Where the Wild Things Are

Current Arcade Fire line-up: Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Richard Reed Parry, William Butler, Tim Kingsbury, Sarah Neufeld, Jeremy Gara.

Track listing:
1. "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" – 4:48
2. "Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)" – 3:31
3. "Une année sans lumière" – 3:40
4. "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" – 5:12
5. "Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)" – 4:49
6. "Crown of Love" – 4:42
7. "Wake Up" – 5:35
8. "Haïti" – 4:07
9. "Rebellion (Lies)" – 5:10
10. "In the Backseat" – 6:20

Arcade Fire website, Twitter, Myspace.
More of Arcade Fire on NxEW.

Another note: Arcade Fire has stated that they have a new album in the works and due for release sometime in 2010. More info here!