Release Date: Sep 14, 2004
Record label: Merge / Rough Trade
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Fronted by the husband-and-wife team of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, the Arcade Fire's emotional debut -- rendered even more poignant by the dedications to recently departed family members contained in its liner notes -- is brave, empowering, and dusted with something that many of the indie-rock genre's more contrived acts desperately lack: an element of real danger. Funeral' s mourners -- specifically Butler and Chassagne -- inhabit the same post-apocalyptic world as London Suede's Dog Man Star; they are broken, beaten, and ferociously romantic, reveling in the brutal beauty of their surroundings like a heathen Adam & Eve. "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)," the first of four metaphorical forays into the geography of the soul, follows a pair of young lovers who meet in the middle of the town through tunnels that connect to their bedrooms.
Canada's virtues as a haven for creative minds are being extolled by indie-scenesters throughout North America, and the mythologization of the “Canadian aesthetic” is now fully underway. It's a process that sometimes undermines objectivity in evaluating groups from the country – and can often overshadow a band's merits as well as its faults. Hailing from Montreal, the Arcade Fire’s Merge Records debut is impressive, but an excess of praise has been heaped upon the band by tastemakers looking to chew up and spit out the next underground icon.