Is There An Echo In Here?


(creepy Arcade Fire photo by Win Butler)

Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible, one of the more highly anticipated new CDs of the young year, is out next Tuesday (March 6), but you can stream the whole thing right here, right now, for free. (Thanks nme.com!) The album may not pull a No. 2 chart entry like fellow Indie Rock sensations The Shins did earlier this year, but I’ll bet it lands in the Top 10 (a real coup for Merge Records, the little label started by a couple of members of Superchunk in 1989).

The album features guests from Calexico and Wolf Parade and Butler says the record is “about the way culture and religion intersect.” Hmmm, where could he have gotten that inspiration?

Some of the early reviews have picked up on this (and the ones due this week will likely also make reference), but there is a strong Echo and the Bunnymen influence evident on this offering (either by design or accident), as singer Win Butler conjures the throaty, low croon and majestic, high wail of Ian McCulloch, particularly on “Black Mirror” and “Intervention.” Could Echo be the “influence du jour,” like Queen was last year (thanks to albums by Muse and My Chemical Romance). It would certainly be much more welcome (there’s nothing worse than a bad Freddie Mercury impersonation).

— Mike Breen

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