Arcade Fire delivers again with Reflektor

Christmas for indie rock-lovers and hipsters across the world came a little early this year. Arcade Fire, arguably the biggest indie act of the new millennium, released their fourth album, a double-album entitled Reflektor late in October.

Their first two albums are two of the most critically acclaimed albums of last decade, Arcade Fire won some mainstream recognition when their third album The Suburbs, won the 2010 Grammy album of the year.

The first disc is the more stylistically diverse of the two. The second track (following “Reflektor”), “We Exist,” features a sleek mid-tempo dance groove that builds up until the choruses overflow with emotion. Then things take a turn with “Flashbulb Eyes” which features a paranoid-reggae oriented sound.

On the first disc, sounds rage from glam-rock stomp of “Joan of Arc” to the Smiths-esque guitar lines on “You Already Know.” In the straightforward rocker “Normal Person,” frontman Win Butler tackles themes of social alienation. Also the Caribbean influenced “Here Comes the Night Time” features some of the most enthralling tempo fake-outs in Arcade Fire’s discography.

Where the first disc is more direct and playful, the second disc sounds straight faced and more epic. On Arcade Fire terms, disc one is to The Suburbs as disc two is to Neon Bible.

Disc two features a short reprisal of “Here Comes the Nighttime” which manages to provide a haunting and emotional segue between the two discs. Following it is “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” which is one of the weaker points of the album due to it not being quite worthy of its length.  However they bounce right back with “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus),” one of the albums strongest songs which features a triumphant groove courtesy of Murphy and a gorgeously quiet refrain by Butler and his wife Regine.

The albums last two tracks are vastly different. “Afterlife” sounds massive while retaining a dance and synth-oriented groove. It contemplates life after death and is another one of the albums highest points. Following it is the closer “Supersymmetry,” a quite, meditative song that some could see as anticlimactic, but really is a reflective track that offers a simplistic arrangement that closes out the sprawling album that is Reflektor.

Reflektor is an imperfect masterpiece that is sure to be in contention for album of the year. Its few flaws are that the songs are occasionally overlong and it’s not entirely cohesive. However it is Arcade Fire’s White Album, a capsule of a band at the peak of its powers with more ambition than it can contain. Arcade Fire has delivered another anthemic, epic, and emotive album—except this time you can dance.