“Reflektor” displays an artful intelligence

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Arcade Fire press image

“Reflektor” drew influence from a variety or sources including the band’s trip to Haiti and the movie Black Orpheus.

After months of promotion and excitement, fans have finally been graced with the release of Arcade Fire’s intelligent and artful “Refleketor.” This double LP is the band’s fourth studio album, following their Grammy award-winning record “The Suburbs.” This heart-pounding inspection of frustration and passion sweeps listeners up in waves of emotion and leaves them more than satisfied.

After visiting Haiti, the homeland of his wife and bandmate, songwriter Win Butler was inspired by the vast array of culture, choosing to broaden his musical influence on “Reflektor.” This makes for an eclectic modification in the band’s ever-changing sound. Produced by James Murphy, of LCD Soundsystem, this record shows more polish than the rest of the band’s catalogue while still maintaining the emotional power of the first three.

Lyrically, the album is a masterpiece. Win Butler’s themes have broadened from melancholy nostalgia to isolation, religion, death and, most of all, the age of press and alienation. Looking for inspiration, Butler turned to these ideas, expressed in his favorite film 1959’s “Black Orpheus” The album is less of an examination of personal emotions and more of a commentary on Butler’s surroundings.

The first and only single released in anticipation of the record was the title track. “Reflektor” was successful in manifesting their sudden change in musical direction as well as laying down the lyrical themes of the record. With a short vocal appearance from David Bowie, “Reflektor” incorporates new wave and disco sounds during its lengthy seven minutes.

Mecury Records

“We Exist” is a complex track with a beat reminiscent of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” In this track, Butler shows his ability to turn the most common themes into heart-stabbing poetry. In taking the voice of an isolated nonconformist, he ponders, “It’s true, I’m different than you, but tell me why they treat me like this.”

Arcade Fire comments again on religious infliction in countries like Haiti in “Here Comes the Nighttime.” Once again, the voice of the brave nonconformist comes into play when Butler refuses to fall in line, depriving him of salvation: “The missionaries, they tell us we will be left behind.”

The most powerful track of the record is “Normal Person.” Both lyrically and musically, this raging freight train of a track gives the record an unexpected twist of passion. Butler examines the “normal person” asking, “Is there anything as strange as a normal person?” He then amends, “Is there anyone as cruel as a normal person?”

High expectations were held for this epic release, and fans of intelligent music will not be disappointed. The record makes anyone who listens think and feel a huge array of emotions with the strength that only music can bring.