My Top 20 Albums – ‘Funeral’ by Arcade Fire.


2004 was a very good year for music, particularly indie rock with fantastic debuts from The Killers and Franz Ferdinand. Add to that solid efforts from the likes of The Libertines, Wilco, Interpol and Kings of Leon. All great stuff, but sometimes a band comes out of nowhere and grabs you by the balls just when you least expect it, offering something so exciting and out of step with the current scene that you simply have to sit up and take notice. In 2004 that band was Arcade Fire, a seven-strong collective of trendy twenty-somethings based in Montreal. Celebrating its ten year anniversary in 2014, their debut album Funeral remains a landmark record; a sweeping monolith of emotions revolving around life and death.

The album kicks off theatrically with Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), a cinematic opener about a star-crossed teen dreaming of escaping his parents’ house to run away with his lover. With humming organs, rolling strings and a simple but beguiling piano figure, there’s an immediate suggestion of something timeless and epic. ‘‘I’ll dig a tunnel from my window to yours’’ yelps vocalist Win Butler. ‘‘You climb out the chimney and meet me in the middle, the middle of the town’’.

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