The Dispatch ran this article today
Arcade Fire can’t be typecast
By Chris Riemenschneider STAR TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS)
Five months after its second album, Neon Bible, was issued, the dramatic Canadian ensemble the Arcade Fire has cemented itself as one of the most vital new rock bands — albeit a peculiar one.
The record, immediately alluring but hopelessly ambiguous, often resembles a dark and apocalyptic masterpiece, full of strings and pipe organ — and cryptic lyrics, which mine everything from religious zealotry to MTV tween fame.
Yet the enigmatic frontman, Win Butler, isn’t inclined to explain it all: Along with his wife and their chief collaborator, Regine Chassagne, he remains an elusive interview subject.
The group, teaming with the New York disco band LCD Soundsystem, will stop tonight in Columbus for a show in the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion.
Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara, who often stands in for band mates on the phone, recently called from their hometown of Montreal to weigh in on a few topics.
• On the touring schedule:
The Arcade Fire has never been a road hound, the kind of band that plays 300 dates a year. The 5-year-old group is about midway through its Neon Bible tour, which began in the spring.
"We’re kind of right at the point where we’re starting to get a little weary of it," Gara said. "This next American tour is going to be fun, though, because it’s to a lot of cities we haven’t played on this trip yet. Just the size of the shows is kind of daunting now. The U.K. tour is going to be, at least mentally, something to overcome, because it’s all in arenas — big venues, and not particularly nice venues."
• On Neon Bible sales:
Commercial success caught up with the band’s critical acclaim: The album sold 92,000 U.S. copies its first week and made its debut at No. 2 on the Billboard chart, a major feat for an indie release (it’s on North Carolina’s Merge Records). Both Bible and the band’s 2004 compact disc, Funeral, are nearing gold status in the United States (500,000 copies sold).
"The whole financing and selling of albums is a mystery to us. It was hard with this one. When Funeral came out, they just pressed like 10,000 copies, and that was it, at first. It was totally bizarre how much it wound up selling because it never really exploded, but it never really died. It just consistently kept selling.
"With this one, there was a huge investment made on Merge’s part to make sure there were like 200,000 copies right off the bat. But then we had to make sure we really marketed it so it did sell. So in that sense, we are happy — or even just relieved — that it has been selling."
• On the idea of a tour with 10 other people:
Officially a seven-member band, the group usually bulks up on tour. This outing features three extra players, including horn player Kelly Pratt of the band Beirut. Adding members doesn’t make touring more complicated.
"Even when we were just six people and Win was in school, it was hectic from the beginning for us trying to make everybody’s schedules fit. Now, it’s more fun, especially now that we have buses. The family is bigger. And there are more options of who you can hang out with. Inevitably, a few people are going to go out and have fun one night and a few are going to go to bed. There’s enough to choose which you’re gonna do."
• On the next album:
"We’ve been banging around a couple of parts, a few rhythmic ideas.
"A couple of the songs we’re already playing with are totally different from each other. It’ll definitely be all over the map. We’ve all played too much, and been in bands before this one, to stay with just one certain aesthetic, like ‘Oh, this has to sound indierock.’ The Arcade Fire doesn’t suffer from that at all, I’m happy to say."