Record of the Month

I figured I’d do a monthly ‘what I’m listening to’ kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it’s my blog! So there!

These may or may not be newly released disks. They might not even be a good disk – just what is been in heavy rotation in my car (as usually the iPod is playing anywhere else). I am revitalized by an album.

Ok – maybe not me, but my faith in the music industry is been resuscitated.  Or possibly just reanimated.

…and everything that’s old is new again.

I am loving the Arcade Fire’s The Neon Bible.

I don’t know that they or the disk have anything revolutionary to say – but how they say it is pretty frickin’ impressive.  Yeah – their lyrics could be deeper and less repetitive, but because of the music and vocal arrangements along with the production, those things are minor flaws.

It can be argued they pull from many influences- and they do – but guess what?  It works!! The influences are so varied and the arrangements so well put together that the disk is still extremely cohesive.

Sure, I have favourites, like “Intervention”.  How is this not ELO meets the Tragically Hip?  (yes, you read that right!) The pipe organ is a nice and unexpected touch.  During the first five seconds I want to break into the first line of the Alarm’s “Strength”.  But even when the rest of the instruments kick in, the organ remains a subtle, yet strong presence. But the background vocals are pretty good too.

“No Cars Go” is Ultravox meets Big Country. “Ocean of Noise” uses the lower register of a piano and bass beautifully. It also contains a great vocal arrangement that includes “now who here among us/still believes in choice/not I.”

The Montreal-based band (but mostly the vocalist) channels their best Nebraska-era Springsteen, albeit fleshed out, with both and “Antichrist Television Blues” and “Windowsills” (in which the last 40-50 seconds just repeats ‘I don’t wanna see it on my windowsill’ over and over – and yet it I do not find it annoying).

They close out with “My Body is a Cage”. Again with the pipe organ.  I really enjoy this – where it might have been done by Beck, Arcade Fire does nicely on it, The song starts off so minimally and then becomes not quite bombastic, but could border on the overwhelming.  But you have to play it loud – that’s my opinion.

Granted the entire disk is not great.  I’m still struggling with the title track and “Black Wave/Bad Vibrations”.  But only two marginal songs off an entire disk is nothing to sneeze at.

I’ve played the album quite a lot and still really like it. I can’t say it’s a sing-a-long disk, but one could do it. Maybe it is just me, but it is great for a night time drive.

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