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Arcade Fire returns with a “We” of majesty

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Paris (AFP) – Arcade Fire is back with “We” (“We” in English), a disc relieved of the superfluity of the previous opus and the ideal ship to rock the crowds to the sound of epic rock.

The twilight titles of the songs “Age of anxiety I” or “End of the Empire I-III” should not be trusted: this 6th studio album of the canadian group has nothing sealed.

The disc was conceived in a tormented world, between a pandemic and the end of a chaotic Trump mandate in the USA, but “We” sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

“We are in an era of challenges and the world is changing at such a speed. How to face without being defeated?”. This is the state of mind of the disc, summarized by its leader Win Butler in the Montreal Gazette.

The colossus, originally from Texan, and the other thinking head of the group, his wife Régine Chassagne, a Quebecer of Haitian parents, still have a base in Montreal, even if they spend more and more time in New Orleans.

It is also in this city of Louisiana that they were blocked during the confinements and that they gave birth to “We”.

The album benefits from prestigious guests: Peter Gabriel, who comes to pose his voice, Geoff Barrow (ex-Portishead) on synthesizers, and especially Nigel Godrich, producer known for his work with Radiohead.

“Beautiful, classy, ​​arty”

“I had bought + The Bends + (from Radiohead) the day it was released, remembers Butler. Nigel is an incredible sound engineer, trained in the British school that goes back to the Beatles. He has a deep knowledge of recording , it’s very inspiring.”

With the Butler-Chassagne-Godrich trio, the compositions go back to basics, far from the starchy production of the previous album (“Everything now”, 2017).

But purity does not mean minimalism and the joyful cavalcade of a title like “The lightning II” proves that Arcade Fire will still bring lightning down on stage.

The group has just announced an XXL world tour. “Arcade Fire is a beautiful, classy, ​​+ arty + (demanding and exciting) group that everyone is waiting for, it’s one of those not yet old groups that mark the history of rock like the Arctic Monkeys or the Strokes”, comments for AFP Angelo Gopee, boss of Live Nation France. This structure takes care of the passage of Canadians in France (Lille, Paris, Bordeaux, Nantes in September 2022).

The Canadian group Arcade Fire in concert at the Vieilles Charrues festival, in July 2017 in Carhaix-Plouguer FRED TANNEAU AFP/Archives

Arcade Fire has strong memories in France. Their concert at the Parisian Rock en Seine festival in 2010 has gone down in history, in more ways than one. It was first, at the time, one of their first headlining performances in front of 35,000 spectators.

defying the elements

Their guitars trigger a beautiful musical storm that evening before the real deluge hits at the end of the set.

Remained the image of a sodden Win Butler, defying the elements until the technicians sounded the end of the concert under penalty of electrocution. This is one of the great moments in the history of the festival, also famous for being the scene of the separation of Oasis.

France is one of those countries that have had the chance to see Arcade Fire grow, appearing in the sphere of independent rock in 2004 with the album “Funeral”.

The Canadian group Arcade Fire in concert at the Rock en Seine festival in August 2010 in Saint-Cloud
The Canadian group Arcade Fire in concert at the Rock en Seine festival in August 2010 in Saint-Cloud THOMAS SAMSON AFP/Archives

We remember in 2005 the group playing its last piece in acoustics leaving the hall of the Olympic in Nantes (small cinema that had become a place for concerts), followed by the spectators, before toasting with them in the adjoining bar.

We still remember their ring-shaped stage in the middle of the public at Bercy (also called Accor Arena), a vast Parisian enclosure in 2018. There they paid tribute to the French singer France Gall, who had just passed away, whom they had habit of resuming.

As in any story, chapters close. Win’s brother, Will Butler, a multi-instrumentalist, announced his departure. Not enough to dent the energy of a variable-geometry formation – nine musicians for a concert-event in London recently – which always enjoys exchanging instruments from one piece to another.

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