Rediscover Arcade Fire – EP

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Photo credit: Mary Ellen Matthews

Arcade Fire – EP is often overlooked. While it may only look like a prelude to their greatness, it has more worth than that. Rediscover the seven tracks and get glimpses of what will become one of the best acts of the festival circuit.

Old Flame

The first ever song of Arcade Fire‘s biography starts off strong! A dancey instrumental and Win Butler‘s poetic lyricism: “You knew in five minutes / I knew in a sentence“. At the beginning of ‘Old Flame’, Regine Chassagne‘s accordion blends with the rest, then takes the lead at around the second and a half minute for 30 seconds of bliss, before the song ends in a classic fashion with the instruments fading and Win’s last words, “It never ends“.

I’m Sleeping in a Submarine

The second track starts with a piano lead laying out a mysterious atmosphere. The drums and Regine’s singing start simultaneously, and we’re already happy as we do not have nearly enough songs of her. In parallel to the piano, the groovy bassline is another highlight to focus on. ‘I’m Sleeping in a Submarine’ is a good title for the ambience it conveys.

No Cars Go

‘No Cars Go’ is the only song from the EP that made a comeback, even being one of the main singles of Neon Bible. That shows the strenght of the track. With the many well-placed “Hey!“, the dual singing of Win and Regine, it is always a highlight of an Arcade Fire concert. In this version, Win is more talking than singing during the instrumental ending (“Women and children“…), which adds warmth to the moment. What follows is everyone going “ooooooh oooooooh“, a prelude of one of their signatures, and a communal experience.

The Woodland National Anthem

Wow! A second song out of seven where we can hear Regine sing. Her voice, pure and unaltered, with a classic acoustic accompaniment. Win joins her to create a perfect fireplace song, exactly in the mood that the title would want to convey. The percussion completes that feeling of coziness and closeness. ‘The Woodland National Anthem’ ends serenely, with the cello.

My Heart is an Apple

‘My Heart is an Apple’ starts off slow, with Win singing, before the drums take more place and the choirs go into action. It goes like this for a while, before the bridge, made of sounds of nature: water, birds, and the piano flawlessly accompanying it. Then, Regine’s angelic voice goes: “My mouth is full, your heart is an apple…”. After Win takes back the singing, we hear the first glimpses of french, with the word “Pomme” (apple) repeated. We want more french from Arcade Fire.

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Headlights Look Like Diamonds

‘Headlights Look Like Diamonds’ is probably the best song of the EP. Catchy from the beginning, with Regine’s “whoooo” and the piano that enters slowly before taking the lead. The song continues with the best of Arcade Fire: the xylophone on the other beat, Regine’s “tutu tu tu tu tu tu tu“, and the most jumpey instrumental ending. If not for ‘No Cars Go’, it is the most performed song live.

Vampire / Forest Fire

We mentioned Arcade Fire’s instrumental endings a few times already in this list. It is indeed what Arcade fire does best. We will see it in the next albums, especially on Funeral‘s ‘Neighborhood #1 Tunnels’, ‘Crown of Love’ and ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ among others. But despite its lesser known status, ‘Vampire / Forest Fire’ could pretend to have the best ending of all. Chaotic yet so clear, a journey and a goal at the same time. The kind of experience where the transcendance is so strong that you are more likely to stay still than to jump. While it is short, we can rather consider that the whole thing starts around minute four with the piano loop. Then three minutes in which the band puts everything, as if it was not already evident that they were to become one of the best bands on record and live.

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire
Photo: Guy Aroch

Arcade Fire is an indie rock band from Montreal, Canada, formed in 2000. In 2004, the band had a major breakthrough with their debut album Funeral. This album is still considered to be one of the best of the 2000s, and includes famous songs like ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ and ‘Wake Up’. Their third album The Suburbs was possibly even more successful, winning the 2011 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In 2017, Arcade Fire released their fifth album, Everything Now. The sixth should appear sooner than later, the band making it known that they were working on it.

To stay up to date, visit their website.

Akram is a 26yo living in Montréal. After visiting Sziget Festival in 2014 (and 2015, and 2016), his love for live music started ascending and is yet to peak. His favorite bands are Arcade Fire, Radiohead, M83, Big Thief, Beach House, Sufjan Stevens...