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Arcade Fire

The Suburbs


It may not be Funeral II, but Arcade Fire’s latest offering is certainly nothing to scoff at. For their fourth album, the Montreal-based collective has scaled things back in many ways (fewer members, fewer building violin solos), leaving plenty of room for the lyrics to shine. And shine they do. Suburbs is undeniably Win Butler’s record, and the frontman works hard to carry his messages of midlife crises and everyman desperation past their clichéd expectations. What we get in return is a collection of slow burning gut-wrenchers (“Wasted Hours,” “Modern Man”) and reverberating foot-stompers (“Ready to Start,” “Sprawl II”) that both call out to the band’s untouchable breakthrough and push them in a new direction entirely. So though this road has its bumps (“City with No Children” sounds just a little too Bon Jovi for anyone to take seriously), it ultimately finds Arcade Fire poignantly flirting with the same thing we’re all so afraid of: growing up.

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