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Neon Bible

253 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 6, 2007
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Neon Bible + The Suburbs + Funeral (180 Gram Vinyl + Download)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The second album from Montreal's Arcade Fire exceeds all expectations. With string and orchestral arrangements by two of the band members, "Neon Bible" is 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.

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For their second full-length, the Montreal-based seven-or-eight-piece Arcade Fire show themselves capable of Big Rock, as original, and as potentially marquee-topping as TV on the Radio and Sigur Ros. Regardless, the intentional murkiness of these pleasantly anthemic New Wave dirges makes it sound as if the music has already reverberated through a crowded cement stadium. Named after cult author John Kennedy Toole's first novel, Neon Bible is smart and subtle enough to present itself as a personal discovery for every listener, every word to be pored over by fans (as with those of Tori Amos, Pavement, and Radiohead). Surely, lines like "The sound is not asleep/ It's moving under my feet" have already been scribbled onto the margins of countless textbooks. Such words are delivered with less intensity this time, but no less import. For vocal influences, lead singer Win Butler seems to have traded his '80s Bowie in for an '80s Springsteen, at least on the songs "Antichrist Television Blues" and "Windowsill" (though "Intervention" sounds an awful lot like '80s era Go-Betweens). The kitchen sink arrangements include the use of an Eastern European orchestra, pipe organ, hurdy gurdy, and a military choir. --Mike McGonigal


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Black Mirror 4:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Keep the Car Running 3:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Neon Bible 2:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Intervention 4:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations 3:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Ocean of Noise 4:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. The Well and the Lighthouse 3:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. (Antichrist Television Blues) 5:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Windowsill 4:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. No Cars Go 5:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. My Body Is a Cage 4:47$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 6, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B000MGUZM0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,961 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Daniel E. Fox on March 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD
After one listen, I said to myself, "Wow this really lacks everything I loved about Funeral. I'll have to go on Amazon and write a review chiding this band for making an overproduced mess with murky vocals, poor songwriting, and way too much organ." (I know, there will be people on here who think "he should have stuck with his first instinct!!!"). But ANYWAY, I put the CD down for a few days and then thought I would give it another chance. OK, a little better, some of the songs starting to grow on me a bit, and hmmm....they really tried some interesting new things on here. I started reading some other reviews and realizing that I might be missing something, I listened to it a few more times. Wow, this is clearly not a remake of Funeral but it is something altogether different and unique and dark (let me stress dark---this is what you would call a pretty "heavy" album). I personally love it, and if you find some of the songs a bit slow and heavy, there is always the (very big) payoff of "No Cars Go" to look forward to (one of the finest Arcade Fire songs I have heard, by far). This is not an album to listen to once and make a judgment on it. Another reviewer/commenter on here has suggested that this is a copout---that I am trying to make myself accept this to be a good album by imploring others to listen to it more than once. I strongly disagree with this person (obviously)---some of my favorite CD's did not "blow me away" the very first time I heard them. In fact a truly complex and beautiful song will take its time to creep into your subconscious, but once it is there, it will never leave. Simple pop songs can "grab" you the first time---but complex art often takes a little time. Give this CD a chance if you enjoyed Funeral---it really is a worthy follow-up by a band which is not afraid to take a risk.
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94 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Seamus on March 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to rush to be among the first 20 people to write about how this album will change your life and make you cry and sit down and write beautiful poems about completely abstract thoughts that you didn't even know you might have. [Insert more over-dramatic hyperbole here!]

The truth that there is no easy way to describe the Arcade Fire. There were hundreds of things written about them after their last album, and there will be hundreds more this time. There are comparisons to every genre and desperate attempts to lump them into some category when it's just not possible. Indie? Folk? Post-punk? Chamber-pop? None of them quite fit.

And that's the beauty of this album, as well as the first one. It defies categorization, yet it's excellent. This album isn't Funeral Part 2. There are some of the same elements--grandiose production, tons of instruments, etc. But there are also differences. This album is more of a "rock" album, if that makes any sense, where the last seemed to be more of an operatic piece. There's definitely no sophomore slump, it's just a slight change. But the important connection between both albums is that they seem effortless. It just sounds like people making good music without pretension and having a good time doing it. If you like bands like Stars or Wolf Parade, this will probably appeal to you. It might also remind you of early Cure, or early Radiohead, though it's not much like either one.

If you want to know if you'll like the album, check out the songs "No Cars Go," "Keep The Car Running," and "Intervention." Those are among the best on the album and they'll give you a good feel for how the whole thing sounds, but they also illustrate the diversity within.
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53 of 67 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Personally, I was terrified as I waited for the Arcade Fire's second album -- so many bands have made exquisite first albums, only to disappoint with the second.

But there are few missteps in the amazing "Neon Bible," which tries out a new sound for the Montreal band -- it sounds darker, eerier, and thoroughly exquisite. They take the chamberpop sound to a stormy cliffside over the ocean.

It opens with steady acoustic guitar, and a swell of windy synth that sounds like waves crashing on the rocks. "I will walk down to the ocean/After waking from the nightmare/No moon, no pale reflection/Black mirror, black mirror," Win Butler murmurs over a rising tide of clashing piano.

They slip into the shimmering rock'n'roll of "Keep The Car Running," which cascades down into a beautiful folky tune wrapped in synth. The songs that follow continue this feeling: the quietly taut title track, ghostly experimental, transcendent little guitar-piano ballads, soaring organ pop, and even a sparkling, catchy indiepop tune or two.

The Arcade Fire obviously took their time crafting this album, and making all the kind of intelligent rock people expect from them. But the sound is entirely different -- it's darker and stranger than its predecessor, as well as sounding a bit more processed.

Granted, I wasn't crazy about the pipe-organ blues of "Intervention." However, the other songs are sheer brilliance musically -- a beautiful thunderstorm of instrumentation, with the sound of a sonic religious experience. Just listen to the crescendo of soaring voices, drums, horns and strings at the end of "No Cars Go."

As for the instrumentation, it's packed in dense, shifting layers.
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My Body Is a Cage
this is going to sound weird---but the chord progression reminds me just a bit of "the House of the Rising Sun"....

probably not what you had in mind, but........

(-:

dan
Apr 17, 2007 by Daniel E. Fox |  See all 6 posts
Awesome "sophomore" record
I would have to agree. I feel it is a good album, by far, but the style has changed and I can't feel the energy and emotion that "Funeral" had. This feels much more organized and intentionally less raw. I would have to say it's a bit more accessible than "Funeral", which took... Read More
Feb 21, 2007 by Vanessa Konopasek |  See all 3 posts
It's Just OK.
Yeah, I agree with both of you. It's not the best record ever (that honor would go the Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, which I know I'm going to get intensely flamed for), it's definetly a better overall record than Funeral. It's very different, however. And that's the... Read More
May 26, 2007 by Catherine Rubsam |  See all 5 posts
Does anyone else think that this is the next great Talking Heads album?
I can't hear a parallel between the two (and I'm quite the Talking Heads fan) but yeah, it's a keeper.
Mar 18, 2007 by Jeffrey Thames |  See all 17 posts
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