It’s been three years since the seven piece (plus guests) Canadian ensemble Arcade Fire toured the United States. Which is ironic because they seem so, well, American. When Arcade Fire released Neon Bible in 2007 they ended up articulating an image of disenchantment so real to Americans it hurt. Delivered with the hollow, melodic voice of vocalist Win Butler and accompanied by the soulful droning of a church organ and the metallic lick of string instruments, Neon Bible tapped into the jugular vein of American sadness and fear. With the present state of the economy, the ongoing occupation of Iraq and the moral disengagement of American administration Neon Bible served Americans a healthy dose of catharsis; returned us to the idea that living alone as an individual surrounded by tension really sucks.
But, what about now? Just as things have changed for Americans, Arcade Fire is taking up a new topic with the yet to be released album – The Suburbs. It has been said before that sentimentality is the cheap result of people who have no emotions. Something like suburbia; like a kitsch medium between two worlds - a blasé place infinitely in limbo between the real and the replacement. And that’s sort of where we are now – hanging among Internet threads of communication, an up and down economy, a hot and cold political climate. Will The Suburbs challenge us to locate ourselves? It certainly seems so. From Arcade Fire’s new album, lyrics from the song “The Suburbs.”
You always seemed so sure
That one day we'd fight in
In a suburban war
You put it down against mine
I saw you standing on the opposite shore
Nobody down, the first bombs fell
We were already bored
We were already, already bored
Though the album will be released August 2nd, you can listen to two songs (The Suburbs and Month of May) on the Merge Records website as well as on Arcade Fire’s MySpace page. Arcade Fire did release a 12’’ (for you vinyl fans) featuring these two songs – though I’m thinking since 12” is generally a full length there just might be an extra track or two… just a guess, though. You can also pre-order the album with some special deals at Arcade Fire’s personal website.
Arcade Fire kicks off their U.S. tour August 1st in Boston, Mass. They’ll be in New York, playing in Madison Square Garden August 4th and 5th with Spoon. Also, be sure to check out Merge Records website for all the details of their awesome summer tours... including BUST front and back cover lovelies She & Him.