The wildfire success of Funeral, The Arcade Fire‘s debut full length, is a shining example of how the internet, in all of its file-trading, “piracy funds terrorism” glory, can actually benefit a band and put money in its pocket. The word-of-blog press campaign that ensued upon its release resulted in sell out crowds all across the country, without a video or single to speak of. The attention was much deserved, as the 00.
Needles to say, those same bloggers began digging up any material from the band, including demo material years old. One respected website even reviewed an “Arcade Fire” song that didn’t have any of its members on it. After many downloads (and original pressings going for a pretty penny on Ebay), Merge has re-released the Arcade Fire’s self-titled debut e.p.
Released a year and a half before Funeral, it is amazing to hear the leap the Montreal outfit made in such a short time. That isn’t to say the e.p is bad, it isn’t, but rather an innocuous It is much more evident on these collection of songs that husband and wife vocalists Win Butler and Regine Chassagne are vocally channeling Wayne Coyne and Bjork, respectfully. First track “Old Flame” is what The Flaming Lips would sound like if they were folkier and incorporated an accordion.
Some of themes that are more fully fleshed out on Funeral are on display here. Transportation (“Headlights that look like Diamonds”) and isolations are the major themes, but instead of a blizzard, this time it is the barren wilderness (“Woodland National Anthem”) or under the sea (“Sleeping in a submarine”). But while Funeral’s overcastting pall of dying combines the themes together into a unifying novel, here they are a collection of short stories.
Fan favorite and live staple “No Cars Go” is the centerpiece of this collection of songs. Held together by a driving bass/drum rhythm, the song incorporates the dueting vocals and shout-out-loud energy (and dramatic conclusion)that will become their hallmark. It is the strongest song on the record, and it is obvious to hear why is adored by the Arcade cult.