Funeral by Arcade Fire

7 July 2019

Ironically, the 2004 release of “Funeral” signaled the birth of indie-rock band Arcade Fire. Six years and two albums later, the band’s career is blossoming, promoting indie-rock while they’re at it. With lyrical poetry and overall cohesiveness, this first album, however, is arguably their best.

The majority of tracks start out mellow and relaxing, peaceful night-time music, ­before steadily building into a swelling crescendo of sound. This skillful blend of soothing and exciting makes it an incredibly versatile album. Lead singer Win Butler’s voice has amazing depth, capable of innocence in one song and raw power in the next (the transition from “Crown of Love” to “Wake Up” comes to mind).

Meanwhile, his wife, Regine Chassagne provides melodic accompanying vocals that give the music an otherworldly feel. Together, they beautifully emote the very souls of the songs.

While all band members exhibit a deft mastery of guitar, drums, and bass, there are also a delightful number of less conventional instruments. Accordions, xylophones, recorders, and tea kettle whistles meld together to form a thoroughly unique and enjoyable sound.

Another distinctive feature is the sprinkling of French song lyrics throughout. In particular, “Une Annee Sans Lumiere” and “Haiti” gracefully highlight the band’s Canadian origins, guided by Butler’s and Chassagne’s lilting French tones.

All ten tracks can stand on their own, while at the same time complementing each other to form an outstanding album. “Funeral” is incredible in its own right, but even more so for being the first album by soon-to-be-legendary Arcade Fire. For that it deserves respect.

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