The legions of fans waiting for the follow-up to the Arcade Fire's critically championed 2004 indie masterpiece, FUNERAL, may be slightly disappointed to learn that this EP, officially released in 2005, is not FUNERAL's follow-up but, in fact, its predecessor. Originally recorded in 2003 and sold over the web and at Arcade Fire shows, this seven-song EP plays like a sonic blueprint for the majestic, passionate songscapes of the band's 2004 watershed album. Of course, FUNERAL is so fully realized, so full of emotional drama and unique, meticulous songcraft, that comparisons are unfair.
Like the songs on FUNERAL, the tunes here treat themes of loss, love, family, youth, and self-awareness with startling sincerity and vividness. The band's distinctive instrumentation, which includes strings, accordion, banjo, and French horn amid the usual rock guitars, bass, and drums, highlights the orchestral nature of the Arcade Fire's arrangements, while Win Butler's warbly, soulful vocals (and the impish voice of Regine Chassagne) ring out over the fray. The band's knack for memorable melodies that surge and stir comes to the fore, especially on the driving "No Cars Go" and the soulful, folky sway of "Vampire/Forest Fire," which builds to a thunderous apex. Though overshadowed by the band's full-length debut, this is still an absorbing listen that represents the Arcade Fire's first confident steps.
- Format: Vinyl
- RSD Release Date: n/a
- Genre: Rock
- Released: 11/02/18