New Arcade Fire album: Hold Me while The World Burns – Culture

He was a calm and friendly director. Will Butler wrote on Twitter in mid-March that he was leaving Arcade Fire. There was no specific reason for this, it simply changed, as did the group that had been around for nearly two decades. “It’s time for something new,” Butler wrote.

Multi-instrumentalist Wayne Butler’s younger brother also contributed to Arcade Fire’s sixth album, which has just been released. Listening to “WE”, his decision to leave becomes even more understandable, as the 40-minute act marks a return to the old strengths of the band, who were already best known for their debut album “Funeral” from 2004, but still are. Do not open any views, which indicates an exciting additional development.

Ego as a scary creature

If Will Butler wants to try something new, he’s in the wrong place with the group that his brother and sister-in-law Regine Chassani founded in Montreal and still leads today – trials are long since.

Now it’s about delivering the indie rock mix you’ve earned along the way as accurately as possible, celebrating your own maturity. This claim is already reflected in the information provided that the title of the album refers to the novel of the same name by the Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin, which was completed in 1920.

In it, the author, who influenced George Orwell, among others, painted a picture of the state of watch in the twenty-sixth century in which everything directed towards group and individuals is of no value. A very clear criticism of the Soviet Union, which means that the work could not be published for the first time until 1925 – in English.

With Arcade Fire, the self to which the first half of the album is dedicated, titled “I,” looks like a tormented, fear-ridden creature. The opening song, “Age Of Anxiety I,” delves into a dark description of soul and time via the drumming of a mysterious bass instrument, as a young pianist and battered acoustic guitar cast some rays of light.

About halfway through, I replay the five-and-a-half-minute piece, the bass moves in last, and I add percussion and chords to help exorcise evil spirits: “The soul must be taken out of me / This anxiety is in me,” Regine Chassani and Wayne Butler sing. In the second part of the Anxiety saga, Arcade Fire is set in “Rabbit Hole”, inspired by Giorgio Moroder and Ann Clarke and tells tales of a burning acropolis, the apocalypse of Arcadia, and a plastic soul.


They don’t have anything smaller – that thought also comes to mind in “End Of Empire I – III,” which briefly uses John Lennon’s “Imagine” and escalates into a chorus resembling a chant unabashedly you can already hear you see the cell phone lights the sea waving in Big squares in the next round.

Recorded in the past two years of the pandemic, it may have been longing for moments like these that made the band think of their overwhelming voice on “WE.” It also marks the more positive second half of the record, which begins with the songs “The Lightning I” and “The Lightning II”, which evokes the cohesion of two or more people with such glee that it’s hard not to. carry it away.

[„WE“ erscheint bei Columbia/Sony. Konzert: 29.9., Mercedes-Benz-Arena, Berlin]

This part of the record is dedicated to us, our sense of community and family. Collectivism is not the enemy of individuality, it is a source of hope. The soul torn by fear can find support in it. Collective spirit has always been important to the band in their stage performances and videos, and it is clear that the heart of Arcade Fire is Régine Chassagne and Win Butler.

The couple also produced WE with Nigel Godrich. It was recorded in various studios when making music together became possible again. One song dedicated to the son of a couple who is encouraged to follow his heart. Chorus is just what needs to be done, but the boy will understand that his parents are sending him a love letter. Especially since the piece is called “Unconditional I”.

Part Two is the only song with lead vocals Regine Chassani – the clearest reference to the band’s dance-rock side. A late highlight on the album, it features Peter Gabriel in guest vocals. It’s a shame he didn’t advise the band against the refrain lines “I’ll be your race and your religion / You’ll be my race and my religion / This love ain’t a competition”.

Even if race and religion are two cross streets in New Orleans, where the couple lives – it just sounds wrong when they sing. No matter the fans in the stadium, the joy of searching shall trump any nonsense.

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