Album Review: Reflektor, by Arcade Fire

Coming off of a slew of awards, Arcade Fire's new album breaks into the Alt Rock scene

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Cody Owen, Opinion Editor

Recently, Arcade Fire released their newest album: Reflektor. It was recently recognized at the 2014 Juno Awards as the Best Album of the Year and Best Indie Album of the Year. It is the band’s fourth album after Funeral, Neon Bible, and The Suburbs. Recording from an old church repurposed as a recording studio, every album released  by the band has been met increasing critical acclaim, with The Suburbs being nominated for Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammy Awards.

The album is a powerful, pulsating experience drawing from rock and funk with pure, raw electronic backdrop, dripping with intoxicating bass licks, contrasted with the mellow voice of Win Butler. It begins with the title track, “Reflektor”, which incorporates a steady bass/drum duo while Butler sings alongside a lofty harmony. As the album progresses, the lyrics start to take a distinctly “fight the power” turn with tracks like “Normal Person”, and drifts into the abstract with “You Already Know and Joan of Arc”. The second disk starts out mellow with “Here Comes The Night Again II” and “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” as slower, quieter tracks incorporating lighter beats, choral harmonies, and keyboards give a generally happier feel than earlier in the album. “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” contains some of this feel, but adds a solid electronic beat and mic effects to give the song a more psychedelic, yet very modern feel. Afterlife follows this with a catchy melody and pleasing harmonies combined with powerful lyrics and a strong beat to create my favorite song of the album. Reflektor closes out with “Supersymmetry”, which begins as a calming tune with a pleasing keyboard background and evolves into a strange electric wasteland to bring the album to a quiet end.

Looking at the album as a whole, it’s one of the most unique alt-rock experiences I’ve ever had. While the strange electric landscape is a little foreign to begin with, the slick drums and bass pound the beats in until, by the end, the sounds are familiar, coursing through the listener as a backdrop for sweet harmonies. All in all, it’s easily one of the best alt-rock albums of the decade.