Alternative & Indie
How do the Arcade Fire follow-up not just one of the best debut albums ever, but possibly also one of the best indie albums of all time? Well, Neon Bible is a good place to start. After the success of Funeral, expectations were high for a follow up. But really, how could any band be expected to repeat that level of achievement twice in a row? And who can fault a band for setting their own standards so high? If there's one criticism of Neon Bible (named after author John Kennedy Toole's first novel), it's that it's not Funeral. But any other band would consider Neon Bible a towering achievement, for the simple reason that it is. "Keep the Car Running" displays all of the trademarks of the Arcade Fire's best work, building to a crescendo by adding layers and layers of synths to a deceptively simple tune. "Intervention", meanwhile, is easily the biggest-sounding song they've yet recorded, exploding with pipe organ over strummed guitars, strings and a choir. Occasionally, lead singer Win Butler risks being lost behind all of this noise, particularly as his voice has lost some of the strained intensity that made Funeral so affecting (and in fact, on "(Antichrist Television Blues)" he even sounds a bit like 80's-era Springsteen). But there's no denying that Neon Bible is a stellar album, from a band worth discovering.