Apr. 11th, 2014

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Hello and welcome back to yet another installment of "Off the Rack," the weblog series where one can wait well over a year for a new entry to be written. Consistent in scheduled postings OTR is not. In truth, I'm not so consistent in posting at all no matter what the subject may be. However, with both of my little girls blissfully asleep and their mother out with a friend, I decided now would be a good time to occupy myself with something that didn’t involve drooling while pointed more or less towards the television. That Netflix is a gateway drug, kiddies...

I last left off in the middle of The Chemical Brothers' discography, so how the hell are we back in A again? Well, I keep buying CDs, that's why. I'm trying to listen to and write about everything, so some jumping around is to be expected. Truth be told, I haven't jumped as far back as I should have, but I feel at liberty to bend my own rules a bit once I make the initial pass through. This is why I'm listening to Arcade Fire right now instead of one of the other discs filed under A. Reflektor is an awesome album and – damn it – I wanted to hear it all the way through again!

Incidentally, I've decided to post mixes on 8tracks as a companion to the OTR weblog entries. As to be expected, you can start with A.

So, Reflektor - let's say some things about it, eh? Honestly, given my aesthetic preferences, I should probably own all of Arcade Fire's albums, yet somehow this is the first one and, so far, only one I've come to own. The remaining three remain on my Amazon wish list just waiting for me (or someone generous enough, as was the case with my younger brother and this album) to make the purchase. Someday I will have the disposable income to BUY ALL THE CDS...and then OTR will most certainly never be completed as a series.

I first heard the lead single and title cut from Reflektor while driving to and back from Potsdam, New York. I was taking Illusion of Joy up to Hurley's and every time I drive that route, I have a set of college radio stations I usually listen to. I must have heard the song at least half a dozen times. "Reflektor" has got a nice groove to it and when you get to the coda is that...David Bowie? Why yes...yes it is.

At 75 minutes in duration, Reflektor is spread out over two discs. I'm not sure why, as there are CDs manufactured to hold 80 minutes of music. Instead either the band or the label opted to stick with the 74 minute CDs and split the difference. This is kind of annoying because every song runs into the rest and "Joan of Arc" sounds like it was recorded to flow right into "Here Comes the Night Time II," but doesn't (even when listening to MP3s) because of the split. Minor squabbles though...

I've got a lot of favourites on here as this is a really solid album. There are a few misfires – "Flashbulb Eyes" seems subpar surrounded by "We Exist" and "Here Comes the Night Time" and disc two opener "Here Comes the Night Time II" doesn't seem to have much purpose other than to take up disc space (probably should have just been the coda to "Joan of Arc").

After said opener, disc two is where the hits flow uninterrupted – as a record should be. "Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)" right into "It's Never Over (Hey Orpheus)" right into "Porno" right into "Afterlife" right into "Supersymmetry," which closes the set. I read one review which stated the closing track was "too long" seeing as the second half is mostly ambient noise. I'm not so sure. On the radio, yes, I would find such a thing irritating, however I also have a massive collection of Pink Floyd albums. Ambient noise is a musician's way of saying, "put on the headphones and sit for a spell."

Arcade Fire played a concert not long ago in Pittsburgh. I really should have gone and I regret a bit that I didn't. By most accounts the show was awesome...as were the costumes people came up with for the band's request that people "dress up."

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Seth Warren

May 2017

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