Can I get an amen? Everyone wants to know if Arcade Fire can three-peat and retain and extend their unique sound. The short answer is yes, Neon Bible is just as fin de siecle as Funeral and their self-titled debut. The long answer is that Neon Bible is a spiritual, boisterous gem.
Intervention, the first single and album master track is an epic driven by a Bach-quality organ dirge. Ocean of Noise is a surprisingly traditional love song with a beguiling bass track. Keep The Car Running and Antichrist Television Blues are breathless standouts - fiddlefull of hustle and rhythm and protest. Black Mirror is an ominous rumble of a song. The usual circus of instruments (Hurdy Gurdy anyone?) and multi-instrumentalist flamboyance give this album that familiar Arcade Fire sonic timbre. It's everything you may have loved about previous Arcade Fire revelations - naked emotion, decadent nostalgia, military percussion, a touch of gothic lushness, and above all free-spirited passion.
The Deluxe CD version (how quaint), comes with 2 flipbooks - an animated neon bible logo and a foggy grayscale loop of swimmers flailing for direction in black water, while the vinyl LP version is accompanied by a download coupon for an MP3 version. Singer Win Butler has found his muse, wife and dramatic foil in Régine Chassagne. He's from Texas, she's from Haiti, jubilant musical chaos ensues in church halls across Quebec. And we're all the richer.