#6. Arcade Fire, Funeral (2004): Much of what was released during the early part of this decade left a lot to be desired. That is until a little known band from Montreal released Funeral. The title of the album was chosen because a few members of the band had recently experienced deaths in the family. Not surprisingly then that themes of loss are pervasive here. But that isn’t to say that it’s all morose. In fact, the irony of it all is that at several turns on the record the music is quite upbeat. On the brilliant up-tempo rocker “Power Out,” a song about, well a power out, the band is in full stride with beautiful string arrangements, a prodding drum beat and a touch of xylophones; no doubt a stroke of genius. Led by the husband and wife duo of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, Funeral showcased a band capable of creating both the new and familiar. The wide variety of instrumentation shows a true test of versatility. The result is a beautiful brand of orchestral pop. But what puts the music over the top are Butler’s euphoric high-pitched vocals which put a more familiar spin on the sound. At times I’ve struggled to describe this album because it is easily one of the most dynamic albums released in the last ten years. It may take a while to sink in, but that usually signifies a great album.
Faves: Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), Neighborhood #3 (Power Out), Crown of Love, Wake Up