Arcade Fire touch down in Australia in a matter of days to co-headline Big Day Out 2014 off the back of their fourth studio album, the critically acclaimed Reflektor.
While many enjoyed the Canadian art rock collective’s sonic evolution, inspired by Haitian grooves and the influence of producer James ‘LCD Soundsystem’ Murphy and a cameo from David Bowie, Reflektor (and its guerilla style marketing campaign) wasn’t without its critics.
One of the album’s detractors however has directly felt the witty sting of Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler in an offhanded takedown of a review of the new album titled ‘Still Devoid of Wit, Subtlety And Danger, Now With Bongos, as Stereogum reports.
“Look, I’m sure they’re very nice people, but on their fourth album, Reflektor, Arcade Fire still sound like gigantic dorks with boring sex lives,” begins the biting review, by Chris Richards of The Washington Post. [do action=”pullquote”]”I’m a super-dork because I play with David Bowie. Bruce Springsteen wants to cover my songs because I’m such a dork.”[/do]
Much like Noel Gallagher’s hate for the band (saying Arcade Fire “needs to pry themselves out of their own asshole”), Richards took issue with what he saw as the record’s pretension.
While pulling apart “an album that both condescends and sells itself short, over and over again, for 76 insufferable minutes,” Richards takes particular aim at Win Butler, labelling him “irritating”, ‘charisma deficient’, and “still as dreadful a lyricist as ever,” while taking several potshots at the band’s introduction of more percussion to their palette. “We should all be repulsed. Only partially because of the bongos.”
Them’s fighting words, and Rolling Stone helped ring the bell for another round.
For the January print edition of the long-running music magazine, they quizzed Butler about the negative write-up. A Rolling Stone extract reads:
“Yeah, I read it,” Butler says, frowning. “I don’t want to say it was racist – but it was mildly uneducated.” He was particularly annoyed by the three jokes about the band’s new bongos, pointing out (rightly) that a professional music critic should know they were congas. He also says, not unfairly, that there may be some sour grapes: “The guy who wrote it played in a band that we used to open for. It seems like a bit of a conflict of interest.”
The Washington Post scribe is actually a frontman himself, Chris Richards is the former singer of Washington DC post-hardcore band Q And Not U, who played with Arcade Fire in the fledgling days of their career before their own split in 2005.
The Rolling Stone piece continues:
When I jokingly ask if he wants to confirm or deny that he’s a gigantic dork, Butler rolls his eyes. “Whatever,” he says, his voice dripping sarcasm. “I’m a super-dork because I play with David Bowie. Bruce Springsteen wants to cover my songs because I’m such a dork. I’m not a dork,” he says earnestly. “I’m a fucking rock star.”
You can catch the “fucking rock star” and the rest of Arcade Fire and their
bongos congas when they tour the country with the Big Day Out 2014 lineup, performing as the closing act on the Orange main stage, as well as playing headline sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney. Dates and details below.
Arcade Fire Big Day Out 2014 Sideshows
Wednesday, January 22 – Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
Tuesday, January 28 – Entertainment Centre, Sydney
Big Day Out 2014 Dates, Tickets
View timetables and maps here
Friday 17th January ~ Western Springs, Auckland*
Sunday 19th January ~ Metricon Stadium & Carrara Parklands, Gold Coast
Friday 24th January ~ Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Sunday 26th January ~ Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney
Friday 31st January ~ Bonython Park, Adelaide**
Sunday 2nd February ~ Arena Joondalup, Perth – New Venue
*For New Zealand Big Day Out 2014 lineup and ticketing details, please refer to www.bigdayout.com and choose AUCKLAND
**Subject to council approval
Tickets and info at www.bigdayout.com