The group's lead singer and songwriter, Win Butler, along with his band colleague and wife Régine Chassagne, has written 16 songs about a mostly nameless suburbia. The texts can be described as 16 shades of anxiety. The paint faded scenes of wasted life, where people would rather sit in front of their laptops than talk to each other, teenagers who travel by bus and get away and dead malls.
The fact that people often sit in the car when they want to escape everyday life and the financial crisis means that many songs are purely thematically and reminiscent of some of Bruce Springsteen's most beloved, gasoline-powered night ballads. Sometimes it feels like Arcade Fire has parked rock hymns like "Stolen Car" and "My Hometown".
The difference is that Springsteen's characters have less money in their wallets. And Arcade Fire's lyrics are never as vivid and as close as the popular short stories from New Jersey. But they compensate their textual deficiencies through a long and colorful parade of brilliant pop melodies.
Arcade Fire comes from an indie scene in which "less is more". But just as in the two previous albums, "Funeral" and "Neon Bible", more really is more. The songs are just as magnificent as David Bowie's serenades "Teenage Wildlife" and "Because you're young" from "Scary Monsters".
Or as one shoegazerband recording a CD with Queen. Arcade Fire does not fit in small clubs. They want to drown the audience in the world's largest arenas and festival scenes.