Arcade Fire

Funeral (Merge)

ACL Music Festival Reviews

Arcade Fire

Funeral (Merge)

A year after its release, Funeral is clearly one of this decade's crowning musical achievements. The 2000s have been short on those, but it doesn't matter. It's that powerful. "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)," "Wake Up," and "Rebellion (Lies)," at the least, are forevermore wired into the collective podcast bit-marked 2004. If they make one or two albums more even remotely like it, forget Coldplay, the Montreal collective will be this century's U2. From a vast reservoir of grief and love, fear and hope, comes a piano-scored fantasia of bedrooms and tunnels, stirred with symphonic fervor and set to a driving rock beat. And that's only the opener, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)." The rest is equally artful and emotional: jangly temper tantrum "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)," quivering forgiveness plea "Crown of Love," feathery ghost story "Haiti," and big-as-all-outdoors "Wake Up." Because so much of Funeral resides in the mental twilight between life and death, wake and sleep, dream and reality, it feels beamed over from a universe where every band writes songs with as much orchestral grandeur as rock smarts. Since they don't in this one, thank God the Arcade Fire made Funeral. It's already impossible to imagine life without it. (Sunday, 4:30pm, Cingular stage)

****

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