Arcade Fire on Softsynth? WTF?

We’re starting to compile the always popular Softsynth Top 10 Electronic Albums of the Year list and a few songs jump out as singularly awesome, regardless of the rest of the albums they come from. Their albums wouldn’t make any best of an electronic list but they are still most cool nonetheless.

Now if you had told this blogger that one of the best of not the best electronic songs to be released this year would come from Arcade Fire we would have laughed at you and then likely slapped you for being silly and for wasting our precious, precious time.

And yet there we are. Sung by the lovely Régine Chassagne, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” was the biggest shock to the system when we first listened to the new Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs. Now, despite our flexible attitude on what we consider to be “electronic music”, we do stick pretty closely to the mandate of only talking about music that could be considered in any way, electronic (thus our readers don’t have to be subject to our endless pontification about the brilliance of The Kills for example). So, despite the fact that The Suburbs is unquestionably one of the best albums of the year by any measurement we won’t be talking about the band or the album here, there are other places where that discussion is taking place.

Except for this brilliant, brilliant track. One of the marks of the new album is Arcade Fire wonderfully broadening their sound with some carefully placed experimentation. “Sprawl II” is an earnest, poignant tale of one of the sadder aspects of growing suburbanization in North America  (which resonates particularly with Softsynth as we continue our uncomfortable, awkward, seemingly never-ending adjustment to suburban living). It’s pretty much all electronics, which is odd for this band but what it continues is a grand tradition of broad, anthemic, bombastic songs only with different instrumentation. It works particularly well as electronic music does broad, anthemic and bombastic better than almost anyone (see: Nation, VNV; 23, Assemblage). It’s a delightful treat and a surprise as one of the best genre songs of 2010…by a band that isn’t of our genre. Sometimes when they slum it in our neighbourhood, they pick up the tricks and manage to do it better than anyone. It’s a treat that should be added to your electronic playlist tout suite…

Listen to: Sprawl II


3 Responses to “Arcade Fire on Softsynth? WTF?”

  1. I’m with you. This is a great track. I don’t really like this band, but I really like this song.

  2. deep blue Says:

    Indeed it’s a brilliant track. “Ready to Start” from the same album also has some cool synth sounds on it.

  3. John 'Ratty' Arbuckle Says:

    Awesome song! From an unexpected source…Arcade Fire isn’t usually my cup of tea.

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