I’ve taken a lot of crap from a lot of people for my glowing reviews of past Arcade Fire albums. This article isn’t going to help me in that regard in any way at all because I plan on gushing yet again. Get your raincoats on and come with me as I gleefully slobber, gush, and get other body juices all over this Canadian band’s newest masterpiece.
Win Butler and his wife, Regine Chassagne, started Arcade Fire back in 2003 and have been blazing an exciting trail for modern music ever since. Their first full album, Funeral, released in 2004, was a sprawling work, with a musical backbone that felt too sturdy for a first album. The range of sound that was pulled together in that album was stunning, and a feet rarely achieved by a band until after they have been playing together for decades. It couldn’t have been done without the myriad of other artists that they pulled together, but with the group consisting of 7 members playing multiple instruments, Arcade Fire required a masterful orchestrator to keep the music from turning into a jumbled mess of noise. The Butlers did it, and they haven’t stopped since.
Music is an intensely personal thing. Each of us have wildly different reactions to the rhythms, words, and beats that someone else put together for us. Sometimes we hear a song that connects with us, electrifies us, inspires us and we rush out to inform others that we’ve stumbled across the next great band. Sometimes they agree, while other times we’re greeted with confused grimaces before our friends tell us they hate it. It’s a mystery why one person can be entranced by a certain band and another person, similar to the first in a million ways, finds the music awful. This is what I’m thinking about as I present you with my next musical offering: The Books – The Way Out.
The Books are an electronic/funk/folk/noise-pop/other-ill-fitting-labels duo from New York City that started working together in 1999. The idea was simple, to utilize random vocal samples from various sources and incorporate them into synthesized beats. The execution of that simple idea stradles the fine line between genius and madness, and I willingly give myself over to their insanity. This band is one of the most exciting discoveries I’ve made in months.