Friday, August 6, 2010

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Released 3 August 2010
Rating: 4/10

This record can really only be described as one thing... boring, boring boring. Most of the songs are utterly indistinguishable from each other. They all feature a steady 4/4 drive, a repeating phrase-long chord progression, mellow vocals from Win Butler, and the same instruments retain their same role in each song, without becoming more or less prominent in the slightest. Even the mood of every track is identical. Arcade Fire is comprised of world class musicians, yet nothing interesting or beautiful is attempted in The Suburbs' instrumental arrangements.

This disappointment is made all the worse when one considers what made Arcade Fire great on their other two records. Each song with few exceptions on Funeral and Neon Bible was distinct and exciting. At Arcade Fire's best, their songs were downright moving, inspiring. "Wake Up," "Rebellion (Lies)," "Intervention," "No Cars Go" - all gained their fame and acclaim for gripping listeners and opening their hearts, accomplished with unique and inspired melodies and arrangements.

At this point, I just find myself either counting down the next two to three years until Arcade Fire's next release, or even wishing they would just start over and try again right away.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

OK Go Goes Viral Again

Pop-rock group OK Go is often name-checked in discussions of the Internet's revolutionary influence on media, thanks to their 2006 YouTube music video for "Here It Goes Again." The video, which featured the band performing a choreographed dance on eight moving treadmills, received over 49 million views and rocketed the band to stardom.

For their next album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, the band has sought to one-up itself. The video for single "This Too Shall Pass" features an epic four-minute continuous Rube Goldberg machine synched to the music. The machine was commissioned by Syyn Labs, an LA-based group of engineers known for their masterful fusions of technology and art. Over the course of four months, more than fifty people contributed to the project, more than half of them required just to reset the machine after a run. Resetting, namely setting up dominoes, rigging catapults, emptying and refilling water features, took nearly an hour, even with a team of about 30 toiling at it.

OK Go specified that the machine had to last the full length of the video, use only low-tech elements, and that it must be filmed in one continuous shot. The (fastidious) band itself is a part of the magnificent contraption, both physically and in a cameo (look for the "Here It Goes Again" video towards the end!)

Without further ado, please enjoy this four-minute spectacle that will surely put a smile on the grouchiest of faces (Recommended for viewing full screen on 1080p)