Arcade Fire's eagerly anticipated follow-up doesn't disappoint. It doesn't contain anything so anthemic that politicians might use as intro music like "Power Out", but I kinda like how they didn't try to up the arena rock ante, instead going forward with strange arrangements -- Hungarian orchestra to a military choir. Impressively ambitious. Unfortunately, shunning their Quebec roots, the band didn't include a French song. Don't they know that everything sounds better in French?
After about ten spins, I'm partial to "Intervention" and "Rebellion"-esque "The Well and the Lighthouse", though "My Body is a Cage" is really growing on me. A couple of songs sound oddly like mid-80s Springsteen, and "No Cars Go" is a cleaned-up version of the EP track. Anyway, I'm pumped to see them at Coachella (Arcade Fire is playing on the same day as The Decemberists and The New Pornographers -- it's Indie Rock heaven on Saturday). Also, hardcore fans can listen to Arcade Fire's NY show on Feb. 17th on live stream courtesy of NPR. Save the date.
Speaking of The Decemberists, I might as well post my favorite albums over the past year. None of the albums I list are "perfect"; even the Crane Wife contained moments of prog-rock wankery that is quite inexcusable. But I'll kindly overlook that when it also includes the sublime "Yankee Bayonet" and "O Valencia". The rest of it looks embarrassingly wimpy, but it's been that kinda year.
01. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
02. Cat Power - The Greatest
03. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
04. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
05. Girl Talk - The Night Ripper
06. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
07. Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That
08. Junior Boys - So This is Goodbye
09. Mates of State - Bring It Back
10. Voxtrot - Raised by Wolves [EP]/Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives [EP]
HM: Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury; Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat; Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies; Beck - The Information; The Pipettes - We Are the Pipettes.
Favorite shows: Coachella Day 1, April 29, 2006; Built to Spill @ Troubadour, June 29, 2006; Neko Case @ Henry Fonda, June 23, 2006; Massive Attack and TV on the Radio @ Hollywood Bowl, September 24, 2006.