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AR­CADE Fire’s fifth al­bum,

Ev­ery­thing Now, is over­stuffed with ideas and mu­si­cal styles by de­sign.

The over­ar­ch­ing theme cen­tres on con­sumerism and how the mul­ti­tude of choices can be paralysing. It all builds to the haunt­ing bal­lad We Don’t

De­serve Love, with Win But­ler sing­ing mostly at the top of his reg­is­ter over a woozy bed of dis­torted gui­tars that makes the song sound as post-apoc­a­lyp­tic as the lyrics sug­gest.

“If you can’t see the for­est for the trees just burn it all down,” sings But­ler, af­ter all the usual con­sumer-driven dis­trac­tions don’t work. “And bring the ashes to me.”

It’s a heavy con­cept. But fear not, the beauty of Ev­ery­thing

Now is that Ar­cade Fire cre­ates the feel­ing of too many choices by of­fer­ing an over­whelm­ing num­ber of great songs done in a dizzy­ing num­ber of good-time mu­si­cal styles that can be en­joyed on their own.

The ti­tle track, an early song of the year con­tender, con­jures the height of disco-era ex­cess with its grand ABBA-es­que pi­ano in­tro that shields us from the de­spair of But­ler’s lyrics punc­tu­ated by chants of “Ev­ery­thing now!” Crea­ture Com­fort uses a catchy, Groove Ar­mada-styled in­dus­trial pop vibe to hide the sui­ci­dal thoughts that come from ty­ing your self-es­teem to other’s opin­ions.

But there are sim­pler plea­sures here too, like But­ler’s

Emo­tional Res­cue–era Rolling Stones de­liv­ery on Good God Damn or the dance­hall-driven Pe­ter Pan, com­plete with bass so high in the mix that it sounds like it is com­ing through blownout speak­ers.

Ar­cade Fire, who pro­duced the al­bum with its long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor Markus Dravs, Daft Punk’s Thomas Ban­gal­ter and Pulp’s Steve Mackey, isn’t go­ing for sub­tlety here. (It even in­cludes two ver­sions of In­fi­nite Con­tent — one punk and one folkie — where they scream “In­fi­nite con­tent! In­fi­nite con­tent! We’re in­fin­itely con­tent!”) How­ever, get­ting hit over the head with songs this good is per­fectly fine. – Glenn Gam­boa/ Newsday/Tribune News Ser­vice

FALL into a dream with Cold­play’s lat­est five-track EP.

Kalei­do­scope opens with All I Can Think About Is You, a lovely shoegaze art rock num­ber that builds up to a soar­ing fin­ish. It’s some­what trippy and I can imag­ine a sta­dium full of fans go­ing wild if Chris Martin & Co close the show with this num­ber.

Mir­a­cles (Some­one Special) sees the band do­ing a lit­tle bit of 90s jam as they col­lab­o­rate with rap­per Big Sean. It’s a groovy in­spi­ra­tional num­ber de­signed to get you danc­ing. Just try not to pay at­ten­tion to the corny lyrics. Alien is a char­ity sin­gle and pro­ceeds go to­wards an NGO that serves to res­cue mi­grants and refugees. It’s a gen­tle haunt­ing num­ber that cap­tures the feel­ing of dis­tress while hold­ing on to the slight­est ray of hope.

Short though it is, Kalei­do­scope has enough ma­te­rial to keep fans mes­merised for a long time. – Angelin Yeoh

Ar­cade Fire. —Photo: Sony Mu­sic

Cold­play Kalei­do­scope EP Warner

Ar­cade Fire Ev­ery­thing Now Sony

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