Review: Everything Now by Arcade Fire

Everything Now by Arcade FireSomething must have happened along the way to Everything Now, the fifth album from Arcade Fire. It used to be – especially in recent years – that a new release from the group is greeted with such deserved hype: carefully-modulated preludes followed by songs that feel compelling nonetheless, with the album still managing to deliver on the set premises. This time, all people have had to say is “it sounds like Abba!” Not that it’s a bad thing – Everything Now manages to transcend that initial label, offering a melange of its carnival-inspired sounds, one it deployed very well on Reflektor, with some added synths underneath.  Make that a reliance on that – it feels like a disco. But this time it all feels amiss. The record feels inconsequential. Is it because of the themes of constant bombardment? Is it because the songs actually feel like a surrender to that constant bombardment? Is that the point? Is Arcade Fire droning on about consumerism in these times the whole point? Are we missing something? I don’t know for sure. There were some interesting approaches – the duality, for instance; how one half of the album mirrors the other – but ultimately it feels dull. Were we looking towards Arcade Fire to speak up against it, to rally for our side? We all feel surrounded and we can take all the heroes we can get – not a surrender. It’s just par for these challenging times. Instead we got an album that surprisingly feels tone-deaf. [NB]2/5

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