Ar­cade Fire’s evokes Daft Punk, Pulp

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST / TELEVISION -

A- Ar­cade Fire Ev­ery­thing Now Columbia

Ar­cade Fire is darkly hap­pygo-lucky on Ev­ery­thing Now, ap­ply­ing Euro disco and new wave to somber themes such as con­sumerism, flum­moxed youth and sui­cide pre­ven­tion.

Work­ing with co-pro­duc­ers Thomas Ban­gal­ter (Daft Punk) and Steve Mackey ( Pulp), Ar­cade Fire’s new mu­sic bears abound­ing sonic sim­i­lar­i­ties with those bands.

The ti­tle cut is one of Ar­cade Fire’s most suc­cess­ful sin­gles, it’s Abba-es­que, Pulp-ish rhythms sparkling be­hind Win But­ler’s nar­ra­tive about in­for­ma­tion over­load matched with a swelling emo­tional vac­uum.

“Signs of Life” is about “cool kids stuck in the past” look­ing in the night for what they’ll never find there. “Crea­ture Com­fort” is back in Pulp ter­ri­tory as But­ler ex­horts those think­ing about end­ing it all to come off the ledge.

“In­fi­nite Con­tent” fu­ri­ously claims “we’re in­fin­itely con­tent” and reprises it­self in a Wilco-like Amer­i­cana style, de­tached and in­volved. Your choice.

“Elec­tric Blue,” sung in a crys­talline falsetto by Regine Chas­sagne, laments a love that dis­si­pated as quickly as the sum­mer heat.

“Put Your Money on Me” has a pul­sat­ing synth bass line like Jean Michel Jarre and forms a neat pair of ( rel­a­tively) straight songs about trou­bled-but-hope­ful re­la­tion­ships with “We Don’t De­serve Love.” U2 and Bob Dy­lan pro­ducer Daniel Lanois adds pedal steel to both tracks.

Hot tracks: “Signs of Life,” “In­fi­nite Con­tent,” “Ev­ery­thing Now” — PABLO GORONDI

The As­so­ci­ated Press

B- Orig­i­nal Broad­way Cast Record­ing Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­tory Master­works Broad­way

With songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, this Lon­don- to- Broad­way trans­fer gives Roald Dahl’s clas­sic cau­tion­ary tale a new mu­si­cal makeover.

Sweet, im­pov­er­ished Char­lie Bucket (Jake Ryan Flynn, Ryan Foust, Ryan Sell, who ro­tate the role and are all on the al­bum) can hardly be­lieve his luck when he’s one of five chil­dren who gets to tour the mys­te­ri­ous Willy Wonka’s (Chris­tian Borle) choco­late fac­tory. The other four chil­dren are all walk­ing, talk­ing ex­am­ples of the dan­gers of per­mis­sive par­ent­ing and all meet grisly ends in Wonka’s tasty, twisted shop of de­lights and hor­rors.

The songs, par­tic­u­larly the Oompa Loompa num­bers, don’t shy away from the darker side of Dahl’s story and in fact revel in the bru­tal way each heinous brat is dealt with.

For fans of the clas­sic 1971 film ver­sion, there are a few fa­mil­iar songs, like “The Candy Man” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket.” But while new songs like “More of Him to Love” and “Strike That, Re­verse It” are clever and catchy, there aren’t any real stand­outs in the new crop of songs and the holdovers from 1971 lack some of the orig­i­nals’ magic.

Hot tracks: “More of Him to Love,” “Strike That, Re­verse It,” “Pure Imag­i­na­tion” — JEN­NIFER NIXON Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette

B Alice Cooper Para­nor­mal earMUSIC

It’s still sum­mer, but school is back in ses­sion as Alice Cooper teaches us how it’s done.

The shock-rock god­fa­ther goes old school on this twodisc set, re­unit­ing most of the orig­i­nal Alice Cooper Band from the ’70s on two tracks. Gui­tarist Michael Bruce, bassist Den­nis Du­n­away and drum­mer Neal Smith join Cooper on “Gen­uine Amer­i­can Girl,” a satiric look at gen­der iden­tity from one of rock’s orig­i­nal gen­der-ben­ders, and “You and All of Your Friends,” an apoc­a­lyp­tic re­venge song against those who de­spoiled the planet and “painted Heaven black.”

Cooper is just as lethal with his cur­rent band. “Dy­na­mite Road” is about a fa­tal car crash that kills his en­tire band, but leaves Cooper alive to com­plain that God al­lowed his beloved Cadil­lac to be to­taled. The al­bum is pro­duced by long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor Bob Ezrin, who also did KISS’ sig­na­ture al­bum De­stroyer.

“Rats” is a jaded look at how politi­cians, en­ter­tain­ers and big busi­nesses view the pub­lic. It could have been a clas­sic Chuck Berry an­them but for the lyri­cal con­tent.

The disc also in­cludes six live tracks. Guests in­clude ZZ Top’s Billy Gib­bons, U2 drum­mer Larry Mullen Jr. and Deep Pur­ple bassist Roger Glover.

Hot tracks: “Dy­na­mite Road,” “Gen­uine Amer­i­can Girl” — WAYNE PARRY

The As­so­ci­ated Press

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