So it is with great joy that I tell you that Arcade Fire have succeeded in producing another great album. The Suburbs plays like a big sprawling housing development. It explores a lot of territory over a long time (16 tracks over an hour) and looks so good while doing it.
A friend of mine pointed out that he liked Arcade Fire's continuity in their albums. They produce works that have an excellent sense of cohesiveness. All the songs fit together in ways that create a musical flow from one end to the other, and the songs often link into each other in ways that serve to enhance each song.
But The Suburbs doesn't just work as an album. It's full of songs which are great in their own right. Title track "The Suburbs" explores some more modest emotional ground that the band hasn't really delved into too deeply, "Month of May" shows us what Arcade Fire could be if they threw down their violins and became a straight ahead rock band, and my personal favourite "Empty Room" explodes right from the beginning with a string riff that sounds like it's about to explode.
This is normally the part of the review where I say what I don't like about the album, but I think this is a solid effort and doesn't really have any specific weak points. This is a good candidate for one of my favourite albums of the year.