Montreal band Arcade Fire were especial favourites of David Bowie: indeed, the Starman even “made it possible” for them to exist, as one of their earliest supporters and champions. He joined them on stage at New York’s Fashion Rocks in 2005, and collaborated with them for their 2013 album, ‘Reflektors’.
You can hear a lot of Bowie in ‘Everything Now’. It’s no ‘Reflektors’, but it’s been a good few years since that, and life is about moving on, progressing, not standing still. Bowie knew this, and Arcade Fire definitely do:
“Those cool kids
Stuck in the past”
– ‘Signs Of Life’
‘Everything Now’ won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s definitely to mine. The rock and electronic instrumentation, and anthemically emotional lyrics reminds me of the music of my teens – but the sound is as contemporary as it is reflective. Maybe that’s the whole point of ‘Everything Now’ – music doesn’t appear in a vacuum. It’s the result of external influences and Bowie and the 80s have clearly had an impact on who Arcade Fire are now.
It’s hard to choose my favourite track. I started out thinking ‘Signs Of Life’ was definitely the one I would go back to…but then ‘Creature Comfort’ started up, with its Gary Numan style electronica and vocals, and that was then my fave, despite its macabre theme of self harm and suicide. Title track, ‘Everything Now’ haunts me in how much it sounds like Bowie: musically, vocally, and lyrically. There’s also something in this song which reminds me of Psychedelic Furs’ ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’. I’m trying very hard not to make comparisons to other artists, but I can’t help it. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing though, as it gives the listener something to hold onto – we have that feeling of somehow knowing the song, even if we’ve never actually heard it before.
‘Peter Pan’, with its deep bass beat marks the tempo from the start and my left foot marks time all the way through the track. About halfway through it gains a sort of calypso feel which should feel at odds with the rest of the instrumentation, but it works.
‘Chemistry’ is possibly the most pop track on the album, whereas ‘Infininte Content’ comes in two parts – the first a rampaging rager of a song, the second is laid back and country-tinged.
‘Electric Blue’ with its falsetto and light guitar and keys, is glorious disco. ‘Good God Damn’ we’re back to the suicidal theme of ‘Creature Comfort’, and the ghost of Bowie haunts me yet again, this time they’re channeling the funk of ‘Golden Years’.
‘Everything Now’ is available in a variety of formats in addition to download and streaming, including coloured vinyl and CD – both as “day” and “night” editions, with different artwork (no extra tracks). It’s even being offered as a cassette – a format which we’re increasingly hearing more and more of and pleases us greatly.
Arcade Fire will be touring the Americas from September until mid December, starting in Québec and winding up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. April 6 they’ll be in Dublin, Ireland, and follow this with a UK tour, ending ten days later in Glasgow. Find out more on their official website. See here for further information about buying and streaming ‘Everything Now’.