Arcade Fire. Two words that send most indie fans into a flurry of excitement, but not this indie kid……. For many years I was all a meh over them. Partly as I did not discover them till early and they were established before I heard them properly. Not sure why they passed me by, but they did.
They have been championed at every turn, each album getting recognition and to be sure they have a catchy tune or two. I hadn’t seen them live either, which was another reason why perhaps I had not been much of a fan.
On doing some reading on them there is a symmetry to them which is really appealing, that being they release an album every 3 years, tour for a couple and then have a year off to make the next record. This seems to be logical, clear, planned and a good strategy. Time to see the world, time off, and time to record. I think it allows the band to fully explore their options, not be caught in short term money making schemes and to enjoy both sides of music, touring and making new music.
Their latest album is excellent. Reflektors is an album of layers, skills and exploration, both aurally and genre wise. There is disco, dance, indie, pop, rock and all kinds of African and Caribbean influences in there, often all in the same song. Many times you are not sure where it is taking you, so you keep listening. Interestingly the songs are not over quick and take the form of a good book, down one oath, then switch to another. They are hugely skilled artists, as well as musicians, this is something to applaud.
So how are they live? They are lively, well-paced, energetic, thoughtful, play with heart, soul and effort. It is clear they are a band who thinks a lot about what they do, and were trialling the new material for the long tour and I must say they did really well. The Camden Roundhouse, a venue of some repute, which I agree with bar the flat floor and pillars, was a great location for them, decked out in fancy dress, as was much of the audience.
They came on at 2045 (hooray, a proper time for us commuters) played for 90 mins including an encore, and off we went. I really enjoyed the show, I was converted into a follower, and will seek them out at a show in the future, and if you have not seen them yet, do so, its fun.