CD review: Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs; all the fun’s in Lincoln tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:39 pm August 18, 2010

by Tim McMahan,

The hottest new indie rock release so far this year is The Suburbs by Arcade Fire. Does it live up to the hype?

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs (Merge) — Mewing frontman Win Butler may be too smart for his own good — a sad, tortured realist, he’s stuck in a rut, dwelling on the past, on the future and on our current situation. And yet, his music on this, his third album, is as inventive as anything on 2004’s Funeral, certainly moreso than Neon Bible. The album is so radio-friendly (in an ’80s sort of way) that it almost slips out of an indie classification into the mainstream. But it’s the songs’ consistently bleak lyrics that will keep any of them from becoming household anthems. The themes: Boredom, lost opportunities, futility, modernism, isolationism, instant nostalgia, and some unforeseen looming apocalypse. All that desolation wrapped in such a pretty package. So yeah, it’s an endearing bummer that’s appropriate for these bummer times we live in, a perfect snapshot of an uncertain world, and dead accurate, but that doesn’t make it any more fun to listen to. My advice: Hang on for the ride and pay attention to the lyrics at your own peril — you may never want to get out of bed in the morning. Lazy-i rating: Yes. My RS star rating: 4 stars. My Pitchfork-style 10-point rating: 8.0.
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There are a couple good shows going on tonight. Too bad both are in Lincoln.

Pharmacy Spirits is playing a show at Knickerbocker’s with Another Option and The Escape Clause. 9 p.m., no pricing info. Meanwhile, Baby Tears is headlining a show at Duffy’s with Skin of Earth and Moistoid and the Dumps. 9 p.m., and again, no pricing info.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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