Just a Reflektor

Edward Valencia, Writer/Parents and Teachers Editor

Indie rock band Arcade Fire released their fourth studio album Reflektor on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Commonly called “indie’s biggest band,” expectations for their new album were high, considering their last album The Suburbs peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and won the Album of the Year award at the Grammys in 2011. Lead singer Win Butler and his wife Regine Chassagne, who is also in the band, visited Haiti because Chassagne’s family were from there. The visit exposed them to Haitian rara music and they decided to incorporate it into their next album. Along with rara elements, Reflektor’s sound is dominated by disco and techno music, a departure from their previous albums. Butler wanted James Murphy, the former lead singer of LCD Soundsystem, to produce the album. Murphy incorporates concert sounds to some of the songs on the first disc. So many songs were recorded, that the album had to be split into two discs. The songs range from 80s sounding “We Exist” and “Normal Person” to traditional indie rock in “Awful Sound” and “Here Comes the Night Time.” The first disc starts off strong with “Reflektor” and its dance-oriented drum beats to “Flashbulb Eyes” which range in sound and style. The songs range from upbeat rockers to solemn melodies. The diversity of the first half of the album is what makes Reflektor unique; different songs use different elements of techno and dance create a sound that is unique to each one. Some songs even add sounds of an audience cheering for Arcade Fire, making the album, at times, seem like a live recording. The second disc, however, is less diverse, and at times seems like a wind down to the end of the album. A few songs such as “Here Comes the Nigh Time II” and “It’s Never Over” seem like a continuation of one another, not differentiating in a big way. There are interesting songs, such as “Awful Sound” and “Afterlife” but there is no big bang at the end of the album, and the last song, “Supersymmetry” is a long track that ends in a quiet way, slowly and solemnly descending into a sort of end point. The musical creativity and diversity never ceases throughout the album, but the first disc seems to incorporate the different elements and sounds better than the second disc does. In the end, the whole album is what it is, a musical genius. Aside from a few small lapses in variety, the album is superb for a band experimenting in something they’ve never done before. Arcade Fire has crafted an album that will both please longtime fans and attract new ones as well.