Rock

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

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.

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