Everything Now Arcade Fire Sony Part of Arcade Fire’s schtick through the years has been the gospel-like joyous celebration in some of their songs, particularly infectious in a live setting. Offset by singer Win Butler’s deeprooted punk ethos and his canny lyrics, this melange of styles has been the Canadian ensemble’s trademark. Just how floppy disco, lame choruses and bad rap will slot into this blueprint remains to be seen, but they’re all here on Everything Now, a curious follow-up to 2013’s overlong but largely rewarding Reflektor.
There’s little room for that album’s Haitian rara touches or the influence of Kierkegaard on Butler’s thinking this time. Instead Everything Now is a rather flaccid take on the modern world, particularly as seen through the prism of easy gratification, whether in relationships, social media or both.
The central two songs, a rampant Infinite Content and a country stroll, Infinite — Content, labour the point. The opening title song takes that path, too, but succeeds, just, on a bed of sub-ABBA cheesiness that has a celebratory air that is hard to ignore, even with pan pipes.
Less rewarding, by some measure, is the following Signs of Life, a burst of ennui from Butler aboard a tune that sits somewhere between the Theme from Shaft and Talking Heads in disco mode. Creature Comfort’s electronic wash and choral backwash takes us into more familiar territory, albeit on the difficult topic of youth suicide. Peter Pan, Chemistry and the insipid Put Your Money on Me are overtly poppy yet dull. Everything Now feels disjointed and flimsy, but perhaps that’s the point. It’s the fast food follow-up to Reflektor’s lush banquet.