Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Solid, catchy pop from Arcade Fire

You may well have heard of Arcade Fire. They’re an Indie Rock band out of Montreal, Quebec who are fronted by a husband/wife duo. Their 2004 release, Funeral, was nominated for a Best Alternative Music Album. They’ve been on Letterman and Saturday Night Live. Not obscure, but if you haven’t heard the disc yet, you should check it out.

Sounds familiar, but I like it.

Sounds familiar, but I like it.

Sonically, the album is rich with lush mixes of guitar, piano, bells, strings, and more. Thundering drums and reverb give a lot of these songs a big feel. Win Butler’s warbling alto is alternately soothing and desperate, but he always picks out a nice melody to sing. Win has a great feel for pop lyrics and vocals, fitting the right words in just the right places. Let me try to explain what I mean. I heard an interview once with Greg Allman, in which he said you don’t hear many songs with the words “garbage truck” because it’s not very singable or evocative. On the other hand, words like “gypsy” and “freight train” are. Win gets this concept and their songs drip with phrases and words that sound good, paint mental pictures, and all fit neatly into the grooves the band creates.

I lifted 4 tracks off this disc for my iPod.

  • Une Annee Sans Lumiere – The album is called Funeral because several relatives of band members died while the band was in the studio recording it. It led to several melancholy tunes like this one, whose title is French for “a year without light.” It is a patient, pretty song.
  • Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) – The rolling drums, driving guitar riff, and glockenspiel give this song a U2-like feel. Of course, Win Butler sounds more like James Russell Mercer of the Shins than Bono, but the song still rocks.
  • Haiti – Régine Chassagne sings this one and she achieves an edgy yet pleasant tone in this pretty head bobber.
  • Rebellion (Lies) – This is a straight-ahead guitar- and piano-based pop tune. Pay attention to the vocal performance to see what I mean about the Win Butler’s pop sensibilities.

Their followup, Neon Bible, wasn’t as strong, in my opinion, but I did pull a couple tunes off of it.

  • Keep the Car Running – This song could almost be John Cafferty, but I like it. The catchy hook and sincere vocals carry this song for me. They performed this one when they were on Saturday Night Live.
  • (Antichrist Television Blues) – This song sounds very like a Bruce Springsteen tune, but again it’s catchy enough that I don’t mind that the sound isn’t all their own.

These are some interesting folks. Some anecdotes from Wikipedia:

  • In addition to guitar, bass, and drums, band members play piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, keyboard, French horn, accordion, hurdy gurdy, harp, and mandolin and switch instrumental duties throughout their shows.
  • David Bowie is a fan and showed up unannounced to perform with them at a Central Park show.
  • They were very active politically in 2008, even doing free concerts in Cleveland (which, sadly, I missed) and Nelsonville, OH in support of Barack Obama.



April 2, 2009 - Posted by | Indie, Popular, Rock


  1. You left out a few of their best songs: “Neighborhood #1” and “Wake Up” from Funeral, and “Intervention”, “No Cars Go”, and “My Body is a Cage” from Neon Bible.

    Comment by mike3k | April 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] Read the original here: Solid, catchy pop from Arcade Fire « Missed Music […]

    Pingback by Solid, catchy pop from Arcade Fire « Missed Music | BassBumpers.com | April 2, 2009 | Reply

  3. Mike, I actually went back and added Neighborhood #1 top my iPod after listening to the disc again yesterday. The others didn’t grab me as much, but, of course, music is subjective. Hopefully, readers will check out the ones you like as well, now that you’ve pointed them out. Thanks for commenting.

    Comment by missedmusic | April 3, 2009 | Reply

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