Put aside for the moment the pretension and Pitchfork accolades. Forget the fact that Reflektor, the follow-up to Arcade Fire’s Grammy winning The Suburbs, was premiered by streaming it in its entirety set to Marcel Camus’s 1959 film Black Orpheus. Forget all that, listen to the first two tracks and then think about this:
What if those songs came out in 1980, and Joe Strummer was singing them?
That was my first thought listening to the Caribbean-inspired electro rhythms of Reflektor – at times the album feels like The Clash circa the Sandinista era. There’s a loose, more laid back quality to tracks like “Here Comes The Night Time” and “Afterlife” that help to smooth out the rougher edges of the music. For a double album it doesn’t feel nearly as serious as their previous work, and the bonus of reaching back to the sonic landscape I grew up in, plus stellar production assists from James Murphy makes Arcade Fire’s longest album also their most listenable.
To these ears, anyway.