WE by Arcade Fire Album Review by Adam Fink, the Montreal band's full-length is now available via Columbia Records

Columbia Records

8

The Arcade Fire

WE

At this point in time, with the pandemic still rolling along and the general unease that the type of dystopian reality seen in film and television is becoming an actual reality, an entire album based around the very real anxiety that many people are experiencing seems like it would be too heavy to immerse yourself in.

On their sixth album, WE, Arcade Fire jump headfirst into this anxiety. Exploring the anxiety that has permeated into all of our daily lives through a combination of beat driven disco-esque grooves to grandiose orchestrated movements, the band has done something quite extraordinary. They made a record that directly confronts the dread of the modern age all the while acting as a salve for it. Produced by Nigel Godrich with band members Win Butler and Régine Chassagne and written prior to and during the initial pandemic lockdowns, WE is quite the huge and affecting musical statement from a band that has continually put out huge and affecting musical statements.

The album is split up into its own musical movements. The albums themes continually referenced throughout each of its mini symphonies. Kicking off deliberately and steady with “Age Of Anxiety I”. A pulsing piano underscores Butler and Chassagne singing, “Fight the fever with TV/In the age where nobody sleeps/And the pills do nothing for me/In the age of anxiety”. Before the whole proceedings absolutely explode into a infectious dance groove. From there on Arcade Fire explore genre. There’s the baroque pop on “End Of The Empire I-III” a song about the end of the American Experiment, and Springsteen-esque folk balladry, with a healthy dollop of synths, on “The Lightning I” before it all transitions into something a little heavier at the outset of its second movement, “The Lightning II”. No matter what genre exercise the band attempts, in the most sincere way we have become accustomed to them performing, it’s all very engaging and healing.

The new Arcade Fire album is something that music fans eagerly await and after the last couple of years, and the continuing stress we are still going through, WE has come out at the perfect time. A meditation on the modern age that is so earnest but doesn’t feel cheesy. It all feels very real and still weirdly hopeful. Something we may all look back on and realize how much it helped us all to understand, recognize and negotiate the complex emotions we are all dealing with today.

Purchase WE by The Arcade Fire HERE