The older I get the harder it is to find new music that stands out. It’s like prime numbers; there are infinitely many of them, but they get harder to find the further you go. Just once in a while, though, mathematicians find a new prime and sometimes, in my wanderings through the soundscape, I stumble upon a completely new sound.
Most recently, at the end of 2013, my browsing on Spotify was interrupted by an advertisement for a new album release. I have a mental advert filter tuned to remove the current rash of rapping and popular drivel but this 30 second clip came through loud and clear. It was the title track of Arcade Fire’s Reflektor. (Curse this spellchecker… The album is called Reflektor, with a ‘k’, dammit!)
Reflektor (the track) has a bongo-driven beat that you can’t ignore, a new wave mix of rhythmic synthesisers and intriguing lyrics. Like a dog hearing unfamiliar footsteps I pricked up my ears.
Listening carefully now, more and more synthesised sounds emerged, blending with each other and the vocals: some strings here, a piano piece there, a guitar break, a few horns. It’s a recipe with many ingredients but they’re not just thrown into a big pot and left to stew. This is food for the ears with room on the plate for every mouthful to be savoured separately. Like a dog I gulped it down in big, hungry bites.
Although Arcade Fire were new to me then, they had already been around for some time. They’re a Canadian indie rock band, originally formed in 2001 and coming to prominence in 2004 with their first album, Funeral. To be honest I wasn’t very impressed with that first offering but the band seems to have been improving with every new release. Reflektor is a double album and there are no bad tracks on it. There are one or two places where the raw guitar offends my palate, a little fat on the prime steak, but overall it’s a meal to relish.
Reflektor is my album of the month for May 2015, a prime example of indie rock with strong new wave influences.