Dance style ‘reflekts’ new Arcade Fire


By Kevin Bartelt

Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” mirrors artful dance music unlike previous indie rock albums.

The almost three-year undertaking of the band’s much-anticipated double record hit stores Tuesday. The success of the 2011 Grammy-winning “The Suburbs” didn’t affect the group’s ego as it experimented with musical styles.

Frontman Win Butler and backup vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Régine Chassagne express their transformative Haiti trip through danceable tracks. Producers Markus Dravs and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy helped mold their experience into the album. Arcade Fair is not known for its dance-worthy songs, but Haitian rara Carnival musicians heavily inspired the Montreal husband and wife.

“Usually, I think you have most of your musical influences locked down by the time you’re 16. There was a band I felt like changed me musically [in Haiti], just really opened me up to this huge, vast amount of culture and influence I hadn’t been exposed to before, which was really life-changing,” Butler said, according to

This cultural influence results in the dynamic “Here Comes the Night Time.” The drastic tempo change from an aggressively rushed guitar lick to the sensationally slow samba groove shows a new side of Arcade Fire. Butler’s advocacy of lyrical depth makes another return as he sings, “If there’s no music up in heaven, then what’s it for?”

After performing on “Saturday Night Live” Sept. 28, NBC premiered a 30-minute prerecorded concert of Arcade Fire performing three songs, including “Here Comes the Night.”

Self-titled single “Reflektor” is one of Arcade Fire’s best songs. Juxtaposing this arty, instrumentally driven and cool stroll from the ambiguous, vocal-heavy 2004 track “Neon Bible” tells listeners to expect nothing from this diverse, six-member band.

YouTube viewers accurately label the seven-and-a-half-minute song and video as “Halloween Disco” with the band’s goofy, bigheaded costumes and Butler’s Joker-like makeup. Butler voices more religious musings as he sings, “If this is heaven, I need something more.” The graceful fusion of his confidence, Chassagne’s French lyrics and spot-on harmonies and vocal accompaniment by the English musician David Bowie provide an entirely new spectrum to the already strong track.

The final product of “Reflektor” came a long way from roughly 60 songs in 2012 to 13 on the double record. Several tracks on the album were recorded in an empty castle in Jamaica.

One track should have stayed in the castle. “Joan of Arc” has an inconsistent musical range that did not hold up to the indie group’s standards. The tune sounds like something heard on its first album, “Funeral.”

The simplistic drumset beat and bass guitar riff during the verse definitely help the overly punk-rock intro that sounds nothing like the band. Unfortunately, the head-nodding verse leads into an anticlimactic chorus. From a thorough and well thought-out group of talented musicians, “Joan of Arc” should be mutually exclusive from Arcade Fire.

Despite this track, “Reflektor” is a step in the right direction.