The spectre of making a seminal album is upon them, however. Since they slashed through the flabby-bellied lad rock of the noughties with 2004’s morbidly theatrical ‘Funeral’, Arcade Fire have been redefining the limits of a guitar band. But almost ten years on, with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy as producer, the group are ready to dip their toes into a more sonically diverse soundscape.
Split into two discs to make room for the full 70-minute odyssey, ‘Reflektor’ is full of swerving trajectories – so much so that it occasionally feels like channel-hopping (particularly when a clip of Jonathan Ross introducing the band on stage cuts through the intro of ‘You Already Know’). ‘We Exist’ borrows its bassline from Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’, while ‘Flash Bulb Eyes’ experiments with chilling dub reverberations. The album also features an experimental rhythm section: two Haitian percussionists who add an eerie quality which pushes Arcade Fire into the unknown, their drums echoing like recollections from a past life. Overall it sounds complicated and clever – but then that’s nothing new.
If 2010’s ‘The Suburbs’ captured lyrically the emotions of coming back home, ‘Reflektor’ looks more expansively into our future, and there’s an omen-like quality to Butler’s vocals. He performs from the perspective of both the parent and the child on many tracks (he and fellow singer Régine Chassagne became parents this year): ‘It seems like a big deal now, but you will get over, when you get older,’ he reassures on ‘It’s Never Over’, before aping an anxious adolescent on ‘Porno’ – ‘It makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me!’ Again, this is nothing new: ‘Children, wake up, before they turn the summer into dust,’ Win sang rapturously on ‘Funeral’. Only this time there’s a melancholy in his voice, something that tells us that we’re all already doomed. Buy this album here
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Built in 1901 as the display hall for the German company Bechstein Pianos, the Wigmore Hall was seized as enemy property in WWI and sold at auction for a fraction of its value. These days, boasting perfect acoustics, art nouveau decor and an excellent basement restaurant, the 'Wiggy' is one of the world's top chamber music venues and currently hosts around 400 events a year. Programming leans on the classical and Romantic periods. The Monday lunchtime recitals, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, are excellent value, as are the Sunday morning coffee concerts. Musical luminaries who have performed at the Wigmore Hall include Sergey Prokofiev, Shura Cherkassky, Paul Hindemith, Andrés Segovia, Benjamin Britten and Francis Poulenc. Tours of the auditorium, with its famous Art Nouveau mural, and other parts of the building take place during the Open House London event in September.
Venue says: “Booking now for Sep-Dec 2017! Intimate concerts featuring internationally acclaimed classical musicians. Tickets from £15 or less.”