Thursday, November 18, 2004

An unusual amount of people in "real life" have asked me what I think of the Arcade Fire, so I've been apprehensive about checking out Funeral. Following the triple whammy of Donnie Darko, Mulholland Dr. and Ghost World, I've been inclined to avoid indie hits (in any form of media) so I don't have to explain why I'm so unmoved or disdainful countless times with varying degrees of forthrightness.

I've listened to Funeral a lot over the last week and I don't think fans are full of it. Well, critics are, but the people who bring it up at City Lights or Roustabout don't cream for two paragraphs before mentioning any specific details, they just say they like it. It is a consistent, well-made, musically impressive debut and I'm glad potential fans are hearing about it. All the same, I wondered how people could get so worked up about something that merely mixes Modest Mouse with Mercury Rev (they need to cover Dream Academy's "Life In A Northern Town" or, hee hee, Rusted Root's "Send Me On My Way"). Then I remembered the reaction those guys got.

My passion for "symphonic" indie began to fade once Ken (former manager of City Lights) pointed out that The Soft Bulletin sounds a lot like Supertramp, and Funeral isn't going to rekindle the flame. The lyrics that have begun to permeate the overwraught bombast don't impress me and the singer shares Conor Oberst's unfortunate tendency to get even more hysterical when the music tones down. The disco climaxes get closer to the desired rapture than the rest (shocker), but I need an emotional connection to fully submit to Springsteen/Morricone grandeur. "*timpani roll* WAH! *cymbal crash*" has lost its novelty value.

Pitchfork and the albums that get perfect scores from them have a lot in common. "Two paragraphs of creaming before mentioning any specific details" describes stuff like Funeral and Source Tags & Codes pretty well.

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