Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Arcade Fire – Reflektor

It may be all very well to attract your celebrity mates (Bowie, bearded womble James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem) in off a New York back street into your studio to sprinkle some angel dust over proceedings, but really Win Butler, couldn’t you have written some songs first?

‘Normal Person’ and ‘It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)’ (for fuck’s sake) are the most convincing moments here, with the old Pentecostal borderline schizophrenic Butler at least sounding like he means something, though with his oh-so-Piscean lyrics we could be talking about anything from the Bible to ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’, how much sense he makes.

What does it sound like? I hear you irritatedly bellow. It sounds like Talk Talk with Chris Martin mumbling vaguely over the top, with a couple of Talking Heads’ most tired hired bongo players brought in to make the hoodwinked audience thinks anything is ‘progressing’. In the words of the esteemed Dominic Valvona, ‘hard work’.

As with ‘MGMT’ earlier this year, Arcade Fire are a big glittery alt. rock name, who appear to have run out of steam. There is no ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ or ‘Sprawl II’ here. What there is is a vast, stomach-churning, nauseating wall of effluence, boring even the most optimistic listener. Win and his cultish winners appear to have run out of anything to say.

It was very important that the massively pre-hyped ‘Reflektor’ (for good reason now, we see) would be better than Lady Gaga’s forthcoming gash-fest, The Strokes damp squib earlier in the year, or MGMT‘s disappointment. The fact is, our Canadian and American heroes have run out of steam. Stop, or change, fast.


  1. one day I hope to read a positive review of ‘popular’ act on this blog. All to often you praise some obscure, uber hipster wank artist that about five people have heard….But you’ll scoff at that act when they break through….yawn, i used to enjoy this blog but its just far too negative about popular/mainstream acts. Have you seen that episode of Nathan Barley – Geek Pie, thats what you’re turning into.

      1. I have heard it. I think its a really good album, drags a little at the start of side 2 but picks back up. Your review sounds like you’ve got a far bigger issue than the album you’re supposed to be reviewing though.

        The fact that you’ve failed to do some geographical research, let alone the fact that you’ve also failed to understand that recording artists do evolve and as such they won’t rehash a previous song, is testament to my previous comment.

        This review smacks of fast action and little thinking. Almost as if you made it your aim to be one of the first reviewers to pan the album, and go against the grain…yeah stick it to the man.

        I don’t mean to aim this specifically at this review, but it was the catalyst…Each an every time I read a review on this blog I can guarantee that if its a mainstream release that the review is going to be centred on everything BUT the music and be negative. I’m not saying you shouldn’t speak your mind – after all thats what its about, but there has to come a point where by you just listen to an album and give an unbiased review of whats presented to you.

        Its a real shame that this once great blog is starting to become very cynical, infantile and churlish. Kinda like a kid who’s kicking out at their parents musical taste when really they like it.

        1. I recommend you to my Paul McCartney review, for some mainstream celebration. No other issues other than that I am a very keen Arcade Fire supporter normally, but that this was a seriously boring bunch of songs. Sorry about the geography

          1. To Both Yourself and Bill,

            Yes, being subjective is great. The Paul McCartney review, Yes – its really good. I really dislike McCartney but your review made me listen to it and I can completely understand the review….

            Read the Arcade Fire review, and tell where and what is subjective or objective. I’m not saying that you should jump on board and blow smoke up their arses but five Arcade Fire paragraphs consisting of four sentences compared to ten Paul McCartney paragraphs of six sentences…. It comes across as a review tinged with spite and malice which has been constructed as a antidote to the hype, hysteria and to the otherwise glowing reviews its had elsewhere.

            What Im saying this and many other reviews come across like your fighting another cause, be that the popularity of artist, the hype, the marketing…whatever it maybe and often the music isn’t being reviewed, or its being tainted with some other argument.

          2. I assure you that there is no ulterior motive here above critically appraising releases and championing the things we like(whether that’s major, self released or unsigned music), as for writing negative reviews of hyped/mainstream acts deliberately to get more hits, really? We have been here for ten years our prime motivation has nothing to do with hits, but delivering a genuinely independent and passionate voice, everyone is entitled to disagree with the thrust and style of what is written here: it’s a debate(I’m the editor and I often do too but unlike the NME et al we hold no mythical editorial line for big acts or releases, the only lines are the tastes of each writer). That’s part of what marks this site out as different.

            I’ll draw your attention to the Lorde review that was published today, hardly a destruction of a mainstream artist is it?

          3. I didn’t read any other reviews before I wrote it (I only read them afterwards these days). My words were genuine! There’s no spite or malice intended, just disappointment felt – I also think their ‘mystery PR’ bit doesn’t help at all

        2. Hey Mr Bored. If you have a look I’m sure you will see we have no issue in giving praise to ‘mainstream’ acts where merited. Reviews by certain writer’s are by their nature their own subjective views, if we all agreed it would be a bit boring right? We have writer’s with very different perspectives on music and certain releases. Also we have been very positive about Arcade Fire in the past I believe all three of their last albums featured very highly in our end of year polls.

  2. I was going to review this but after giving it a first listen it was just far too dull for me to want to hear it again, let alone write about it. This year’s Be Here Now. Oh BTW Sean. AF are Canadian, not American!

  3. Whilst I haven’t listened to AF’s back-catalogue in its entirety, I think you’re giving them a little less credit than they deserve. I understand what you’re saying though – Reflektor would be 70% less of a song without the female vocals of Win Butler, and the track is rather lengthy for what it is, but they do somehow manage to keep it interesting. Every time you begin to think, ‘this is dragging a bit now’, they add a little spice, whether that’s in the form of a keys solo or some extra layer. The YouTube comments are pretty positive as well so at least they have some people on their side! ;) Arcade fire are that kind of band though – sometimes it’s not about the lyrical content and deep meaning (much to my despair) – you can tell AF had fun creating this track (and video!), and I think that sums it up. It’s fun!

  4. how to make your unknown blog popular in three steps:
    1) pick up something popular

    2) check what others say about it
    3) if the general opinion is positive, you write the most harsh review ever (or vice versa)

    Follow this steps and people will come

    1. Hi Marco,

      1. GIITTV is actually ten years old we are not unknown(we may be to you, but we are well established in the UK and most of the major labels/artists send us their work) and don’t write articles via the primary premise of ‘what gets hits’ first and foremost.

      2. If you read a selection of articles you will see we tend to tread our own path.We don’t reviews things based upon what other people say.

      3. We do not take the contrary view on albums or artists on purpose, but based upon our each writer’s views upon those albums or artists. Yes they are often contradictory too….We allow for the element of disagreement.

      Thanks for the comment though.

  5. I agree with Mr. Bored. I remember that Sean Parker also wrote 1/5 review of another this years masterpiece, this time from electro-world, “Electric” by PSB. He must be haunted :)

    1. Masterpiece :) The PSB album was dire, the Arcade Fire is disappointing and boring, That’s why it got half a star more

  6. Well i listened to Reflektor last night and after one listen, i like it. Nowhere near as bad as what Sean makes it out to be in this review! ironically the Paul McCartney album that Sean gave praise to is mostly shite, and I’m certainly not a Macca hater. Mind you, Sean thought the same about the recent Moby LP that i gave a positive review to. But although i don’t agree with Sean’s opinion on this particular record, you all have to respect the man for being honest, not compromising his opinions and not being swayed by any sort of hype. Fair play to you Sean, keep on bringing us your excellent, insightful articles!

  7. seems like somebody got broken up with while an AF song was playing in the background and has had a grudge ever since…. if you think that this wildly diverse and interesting album its obvious you just want more traffic through your site. you must be a sad, little man.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.