Arcade Fire

Reflektor (Merge)

Phases and Stages

Arcade Fire

Reflektor (Merge)

Promoted with a graffiti campaign, TV special, costumed secret shows, and enough advertising to blanket the Web, Arcade Fire sold the world on a defining album for our hyper-connected times, a pop-culture touchstone that draws a line in the sand between us and them. To quote Win Butler on the title track, "It was just a reflector." The Montreal sextet's double-disc fourth album sprawls an indulgent 85-minute opus that expands the band's scope in all directions at once. With co-producer James Murphy doing for New York what Brian Eno took from Berlin, Reflektor expands on the darker grooves of 2011's Album of the Year, The Suburbs, except with Caribbean rhythms. It works masterfully on the first disc, Vol. 1: the dub-noir of "Flashbulb Eyes," thrilling Carnival rush of "Here Comes the Night Time," and the transcendental disco of "Reflektor," complete with a David Bowie cameo. Vol. 2 lacks the same clarity and continuity. As a whole, there are throwaway tracks ("Porno") and overstayed welcomes (ambiguous anthem "We Exist"), Butler playing roulette with themes: the pains of indie rock ("Normal Person"), star-crossed Greek mythology ("Awful Sound [Oh Eurydice]," "It's Never Over [Oh Orpheus]"), and existential despair ("Afterlife"). Ultimately, Reflektor's about everything and nothing, leaving the listener awkwardly dancing in the dark, together alone, with no promise of a better tomorrow.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Arcade Fire
ACL Live Shots
Arcade Fire

Melanie Haupt, Sept. 23, 2011

Live Shots
Arcade Fire, Explosions in the Sky

Austin Powell, May 6, 2011

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Teenage Cavegirl
Candy Cigarettes (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, July 5, 2019

Texas Platters
Hector Ward & the Big Time
Smile Into Life (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, July 5, 2019

More by Austin Powell
Record Review: The Young
Record Review: The Young

Aug. 22, 2014

Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Oregon fest boasts IPAs, ATXs, camping, and sustainability

Aug. 4, 2014


Arcade Fire

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle