Back in the day, music fans lined up at Tower Record or the Virgin Mega Store at midnight to get their paws on the latest hot disc. Things changed a bit since then; the advent of online music forced bands to be more creative in getting the attention of music buyers. The latest release from Arcade Fire illustrated this point. Although the band’s highly anticipated second full-length LP, Neon Bible, won’t be in stores until March 6th, the band allowed NME.com to stream the disc online prior to the in-store release. If you were impressed by the band’s performance on Saturday Night Live last weekend, head over to NME to take a listen.
So what’s the verdict on Neon Bible? After listening to the full stream, my unofficial, three-member focus group and I returned disappointing results. The Canadian band’s flawless first album, Funeral, became an internet phenomenon, resulting in unexpected album sales and sold out shows all over Europe and North America. Neon Bible probably won’t find the same success. Although it’s a solid disc with beautifully crafted material, it lacked the overall energy and catchiness of Funeral. It’s missing a clear winner, like “Wake Up,” from the debut album. Nevertheless, the disc has some high points. The dreamy single “Black Mirror” made the album well worth a listen.
Overall, Neon Bible is an excellent disc; each song is lovely, making any criticism difficult. Unfortunately, the overwhelming success of Funeral might just eclipse anything else the band has to offer.
The free MP3 from Arcade Fire is after the jump.
MP3: Arcade Fire – “Wake Up“