ARCADE FIRE | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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Besides my distaste for critics who anoint an "album of the year" while there's still snow on the ground, there's really just one reason I've been ignoring the media deluge surrounding the Arcade Fire's second album, Neon Bible. (It came out March 6 on Merge, but by then advance copies had been provoking hyperbole for months.) It's because I fell in love with the band after their debut, Funeral, and I didn't want to get sick of hearing about them. No, they're not the saviors of rock 'n' roll, and Win Butler is about as much the new Springsteen as Bruce Springsteen was the new Dylan. What they are is a fantastically good rock band. It sucks that at this point you can't talk about the Arcade Fire without talking about the way people talk about the Arcade Fire, because they don't seem meta at all--from what I can tell, they're not trying to participate in a discourse or deconstruct their influences or do anything besides play music they like. When I saw them touring behind Funeral they were one of the most gloriously exultant groups I've ever seen, as enthralled by their power as anyone in the audience. And given how unself-consciously brilliant they are on Neon Bible, it seems they've been ignoring the hype too. St. Vincent opens the first night of this sold-out three-night stand; see also Saturday and Sunday. a 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 312-462-6363 or 312-902-1500. A

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