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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

I'm pretty late on this one, even by my standards. The only other Arcade Fire album I own is Neon Bible, which is a solid album but never grabbed me all that much. So when this album came out and wasn't on Spotify, I felt no rush to go out and buy it. Last weekend however, my dad and I ventured into Head in Leamington and they had the 12" for a tenner. He offered to buy it for me, and I'll never say no to gift vinyl.

The cover's not bad. Very lo-fi, with a fair amount of film grain and some light leaks up the right side. Lovely. There's 8 different versions of this cover for the CD version apparently, but I'm not sure whether there are any variants to this (the UK & Ireland) version of the 12". Discogs mentions alternate covers for the Europe and US versions, but not for this one, so I'm going to presume this is the only one. Upon seeing them all, it's my favourite of the 8 though which is nice.

Double LP, so it's a gatefold. The inside is fairly sparse, with only a small logo in the bottom right on top of an extended version of what appears to be a photo of the same area as the picture on the front. This means that all the song information and lyrics are printed on the dust sleeves, which is super-cool and actually makes a lot of sense. The lyrics are very readable on the white of the dust sleeves whereas they might not have been overlaid on a picture.

The labels are nice and subtle, continuing the lo-fi nature of the rest of the artwork, and the back cover is the only place apart from the spine that features the album title. The gold text used is far shinier than my poor camera skills could capture, and it looks really good. Here comes my problem though - no download card. It annoys me quite a lot that this record doesn't come with one. This isn't some bedroom label release, this is the new album from a fairly massive band. It will have sold thousands of copies on vinyl at an eye-watering release price of £18. I don't understand why they couldn't put one in, and I resorted to downloading the album from Mediafire so that I'd have a copy to listen to. Morally I think I have the right to do that, but I know it's a bit of a dubious area.

To bring things back onto positives, the album is really really good. I know most of you are probably already aware of this, but it took me by surprise somewhat. I don't think I need to go into that much detail about it, but if you've never listened to it then maybe you should. Arcade Fire are arguably the "indie" (for lack of a better word) band of the moment, and they really stepped their game up after Neon Bible. If they keep going at this rate, the next album will be phenomenal.

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