Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible": Transcendent Or Extraordinary?

Today's the day that thousands of sensitive young men with artfully-mussed hair and faded Luna t-shirts have been waiting for: Neon Bible, the second record from sorta-Canadian indie heroes Arcade Fire, sees release shortly. That's right, the album that's going to cure cancer and end famine and bring Trump and Rosie together is almost on the shelves! The young men, of course, don't care about that—they downloaded it off the Internet months ago—but they do want to know what Pitchfork has to say about it so that they can adjust their opinions accordingly.

Pitchfork, you'll remember, gave Funeral, the band's debut, a score of 9.7 (out of ten), a seal of approval that many credit with making the record a success. How would they treat the follow-up? Would they lavish equal praise or do an about face to show that they've made the band, and they can break it?

As it turns out, they lean more toward the praise end of the scale, giving Bible a more-than-respectable 8.4 (out of ten) and calling it "large enough to take on the whole world." (ALERT: The review also includes the words and phrases "incantatory," "magnitudinous," and "operates on spring-loaded tension and measured release.")

And somehow the Times is even more effusive about the album: "It is regal and beautiful, with mournful anthems and bombastic orchestration that suits the urgency of the lyrics."

So there you have it. Whether or not you think that, actually, the record is kind of flat, having maybe two great songs, and the gang is pretty much saying, "Yeah, we really like Echo & The Bunnymen, you got a problem with that?," you've been issued your marching orders. This album will change your life whether you like it or not, and anyone who says different can expect a firm smackdown. Much like we're expecting.

The Arcade Fire: Neon Bible [Pitchfork]
New CDs [NYT]
Earlier: Gawker's coverage of Arcade Fire