Ever gotten down on air viola or air accordion instead of simply air guitar? Ever imagined your high school’s concert band nerds trying to rock out? Ever dreamed that an album could make you think, make you cry, and make you dance, sometimes within the same song?
If you’re curious about any of the above, Funeral, may well be the CD you choose if you can only bring one to that deserted island rock fans always discuss but never want to visit.
With most of the band’s members having been touched by the loss of family members or close friends during the writing and recording of Funeral, Arcade Fire had plenty of emotion to pour into the 10 songs of its first full-length CD. Instead of looking back in sadness and anger, they chose to honor their loved ones with passion, warmth, audacity and ambition. The arrangements, vocals and abrupt tempo changes often scream “Do not try this with your own band!”, but they get away with it, and keep getting away with it throughout the CD.
The bouillabaisse of classical influences and rock ferocity brewing in Montreal slowly overwhelmed critics and built the Cult of AF upon Funeral’s release in late 2004. It is powered by the husband-and-wife engine of Texan singer-guitarist Win Butler, whose six instruments on the album include piano and gourd (!), and Regine Chassagne, daughter of Haitian refugees, whose portfolio includes keyboards, xylophone, accordion and percussion. Richard Reed Parry tops the instrument count, however, with eight, as the band swaps them on virtually every song.
Sadness runs beneath much of Funeral, but this cannot be called sad music. It’s more like something you might hear at a rambunctious wake, or the kind of Viking funeral you might want for a sendoff when your time comes.
Funeral by Arcade Fire
“Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”
“Neighborhood #2 (Laika)”
“Une Année Sans Lumiere”
“Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”
“Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)”
“Crown Of Love”
“In The Backseat”