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Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Critic Score
Based on 22 reviews
2007 Ratings: #11 / 627
User Score
Based on 743 ratings
2007 Ratings: #20
March 6, 2007 / Release Date
LP / Format
Merge / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
A.V. Club

Through Neon Bible, the band is seemingly sending a beacon to other reasonable people forced underground by the world's insanity.

100
No Ripcord

Could Neon Bible actually best their stunning 2004 debut? Yes. On Funeral, the band wrestled with death and its aftermath. Here, they look outward at the world from, and this is crucial, an American perspective.

100
Sputnikmusic

And here’s the thing about Neon Bible. It’s a record controlled and surrounded by darkness, and maybe the group even focus in upon it and create the record around that absence of light. It certainly feels like it.

100
The Skinny
Arcade Fire certainly haven't keeled under pressure. They've followed up what was considered by many to be insurmountable with an album filled with tension, verve, and ingenuity that heralds their return in brilliant style.
100
The Observer

Arcade Fire are that kind of band; dark and unpredictable, explosive and restrained, au fait with global warning yet immersed in their own world.

91
Entertainment Weekly

What sticks with you finally is not sense but sound, the wordless operatic chorale that crests over a martial drumbeat in the song’s coda - a big, dark, churning ocean of noise.

90
musicOMH

To criticise Neon Bible for not being perfect is as unfair as refusing to take the last, cutest dog in the pound because it has a cold nose. By any standards, excepting those which the band have, through deed, set, it’s a wondrous record.

90
NME
‘Neon Bible’ is a climactic monolith of a record in the grand tradition of melodic transatlantic clamour rock, as extolled by Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips.
90
Spin

Funeral provided context and impetus for the congregational experience; Neon Bible actually matches the live show's scope and emotion.

85
Prefix

These songs are almost completely humorless, but there’s a quavering vulnerability behind Win Butler’s deep voice, a sense that each soaring chorus is sung through stifled tears. It grants the sometimes-clunky lyrics a crucial authenticity. 

84
Pitchfork

On Neon Bible, the band looks outward instead of inward, their concerns more worldly than familial, and their sound more malevolent than cathartic.

80
Drowned in Sound

Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible is an album luscious of misery; it’s fully and deeply rooted in foundations rich in the dramatically maudlin and endearingly melancholic.

80
AllMusic

Neon Bible takes a few spins to digest properly, and like all rich foods (orchestra, harps, and gospel choirs abound), it's as decadent as it is tasty ... but there's no denying the Arcade Fire's singular vision, even when it blurs a little.

80
DIY

This is not a band entering an ‘angsty teen’ period of their existence. Or one sullenly grinding out an over-serious second effort. That catchy element that made ‘Funeral’ shine? It’s still there in exquisitely decorated bucketfuls.

80
The Guardian
It's hard to think of another album that rocks in such an epic manner without sounding completely ridiculous. The effect is of a kind of triumphant gloom.
75
Coke Machine Glow

Neon Bible isn’t quite the revelation that Funeral was; its newfound embrace of worldly concerns often borders on the embarrassing, and the reverberation threatens to swallow the songs whole. But it’s still an ambitious effort from a unique band worthy of the accolades that their fanbase heaps upon them.

70
Tiny Mix Tapes

Neon Bible is Arcade Fire from cover-to-cover. Short of a Revelation, it's the sound of a talented band finding its true genesis.

70
PopMatters

On Funeral, Arcade Fire tried to answer grief with fantasy and joy, with astonishing results. Neon Bible, on the other hand, is like that moment several months after your family member passes away, when the denial fades, and the real, true grief sets in.

70
Rolling Stone

On Neon Bible, the reverb is so big and black that the beat becomes boom andthe orchestral garnish, arranged by Chassagne and Final Fantasy's Owen Pallett, gets pressed to the margins.

70
Slant Magazine

As sources of modern anxieties go, celebrity culture and the influence of religion are broad, making the emotions behind most of these songs ill-defined and distant.

60
Uncut

While there is much here to admire, at its overblown worst Neon Bible is one of those records that takes itself too seriously to be taken seriously. Watch it fly, though.

60
NOW Magazine

The biggest glitch is the production - the myriad elements sound cramped for space. The drums are flaccid, the strings all but buried, Butler and Régine Chassagne's vocals compressed and muffled. Too bad, cuz Butler's lyrics, which replace coming-of-age angst with poetic explorations of global anxiety, politics and an excoriation of celebrity culture, put Funeral to shame.

EMR
86
Arcade Fire's sophomore record saw the band facing huge expectations for a follow up from their great debut album. They seemed to manage the situation just fine, though. Neon Bible is a much more sober, darker and introspective record than Funeral was, showing an even more philosophical side of the act, with metaphorical lyrics that talked about religion, depression and existencial issues all in a clever way. It still shows the orchestral arrangement skills from the band and the memorable ... read more
miasdead
85
Really good.
chutbarn
90
The yin to Funeral's yang. Where Arcade Fire's debut gave hope, acceptance and youthful energy in the face of death, Neon Bible offers a more dark, scared and restless side of the group's monolithic sound.
KiteMan
95
From most of the reviews I have seen, I’m almost scared to say that Funeral is not my favourite Arcade Fire album, it comes second for me. Instead, Neon Bible is my favourite one. It’s got better production than their previous effort, and has just better songs in my opinion, though not that much better. With Arcade Fire it’s hard to actually choose between their first 3 albums, bc they’re all just amazing.

Favourite Tracks: Black Wave/Bad Vibrations, Black Mirror, ... read more
InModeration
90
Neon Bible sees Arcade Fire attempting a much more ambitious concept by incorporating more elaborate arrangements and lavish instrumentals. This is a much darker album than Funeral. The even bigger emphasis on folk guitars and strings create an atmosphere that is simultaneously welcoming and enthralling. Somehow, they managed to follow up their fantastic debut with something equally incredible.

Lyrics & Themes: 9/10
Performance: 9/10
Arrangement: 9/10
Sonic Palette: 9/10
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Track List

  1. Black Mirror 
  2. Keep the Car Running 
  3. Neon Bible 
  4. Intervention 
  5. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations 
  6. Ocean of Noise 
  7. The Well & The Lighthouse 
  8. Antichrist Television Blues 
  9. Windowsill 
  10. No Cars Go 
  11. My Body Is a Cage

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