When first listening to ‘Reflektor’, I think I just sat there in shock. It was all too much to take in. There was singing in French and a build up so colossal and busy it was sending me in a spin. All with a message so sincere and frustratingly real that I could barely notice my cup of tea was a fraction too cold (and I hate that).
This song is a journey. It’s like it personifies a thought process with a climbing sense of urgency. Almost an argument – it’s heated between Butler and Chassagne here. Fortunately though, I don’t think we’re interrupting a domestic. Different components come and go, such as the almost childlike electronics and the rich sounds of the saxophone. And this, my friends, is where the now mature voice of Bowie can be heard. I’ll be honest, I was exasperated on my first listen: where was Bowie?! Was I really experiencing a failure in my Bowie fan-dom? But here’s the thing: even though ‘Reflektor’ amalgamates what can only be described as a mish-mash of styles, it melts together and overlaps in the most seductive manner. Arcade Fire is mind-blowing in never quite overdoing it or giving too little.
The piano solo is the sort of section of a track that can turn you to mush. It’s hard to explain (although I am rather obligated to in a review) but from all the commotion and heat of the journey of ‘Reflektor’ so far and the pure ecstasy of Bowie, only to strip away so many layers apart from the simplicity of that twinkly solo. Quite frankly, and excuse me for saying, it is equivalent to the post-orgasm sigh of release, satisfaction and recovery.
Arcade Fire are one of the only bands I can think of that still truly do what they want and create gut-wrenchingly honest lyrics far more philosophical than we even allow ourselves to notice. This and their collaboration with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem is reason enough to be squealing in my seat in excitement for the rest of this album.
Reflektor is released October 28th and is available for preorder now. We’d suggest getting it from Arcade Fire’s site or your local record store because it is nearly twice as much from a well known online retailer who doesn’t like tax.