The Arcade Fire spent most of 2006 holed up in a small church in a small town outside of Montreal. They were recording their second album Neon Bible. It was a slow year, mostly. The eagerly anticipated second album from Montreal's Arcade Fire exceeds all expectations.
Coming off a year of intense touring, they wanted to just sit down and write some songs. And then record them. So they found a church out in a small town and turned it into a studio. They moved in all their amps and instruments, bought some nice curtains, stocked the fridge, and hunkered down. They were in no rush.
They knew they were working on an album, but didnt know how long it would be, or what it would be called, or what songs would be on it, or what instruments would be on the songs. They knew they would produce it themselves, thoughthey had too many musical plans pent up in their brains to hand control over to someone else. So they found some grand engineers to make those musical plans realityMarkus Dravs (Bjork, James, Brian Eno) and Scott Colburn (Sun City Girls, Animal Collective).
Slowly the songs came together. They found a huge pipe organ in a huge church in Montreal and recorded it. They bought some bass steel drums and some bass synths. They got a hurdy-gurdy. They called in friends for help: Martin Wenk and Jacob Valenzuela, the horn players from Calexico, came in for a song. Hadjii Bakara from Wolf Parade added some bleep and bloops and sonic weirdness. Owen Pallett, aka Final Fantasy, helped to orchestrate (as he did on Funeral). Pietro Amato and his horn playing associates added some brass. The band traveled to Budapest to record an orchestra and a military choir. And besides all this, the band just played music together. They played the songs that were going on the album. They played songs that wouldnt go on the album. They played cover songs. It was all quite nice, really.
When finished, Neon Bible was full of both half-assed punk rock mistakes and meticulously orchestrated woodwinds. Processed strings and mandolin. Quiet rumbles and loud rumbles. But mostly just eleven songs that the band thinks are really good. And that might be of some public interest.
Neon Bible was nominated for Best Alternative Album for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards and also won the 2008 Juno Award for Alternative Album of The Year.
"Holding listeners at attention from start to finish, and boasting an on-the-floor production that reflects the dimensions of its recording locales, (Neon Bible is) pure pop brilliance." - Bob Grendron, Absolute Sound Magazine, April/May 2007, Issue 171
1. Black Mirror
2. Keep The Car Running
3. Neon Bible
5. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
6. Ocean Of Noise
7. The Well And The Lighthouse
8. (Antichrist Television Blues)
10. No Cars Go
11. My Body Is A Cage