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Reflektor by Arcade Fire

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What does a “former” indie rock band,the surprise Grammy winner for 2011 Album of the Year for The Suburbs, do for an encore?The anxious, ambitious two-disc Reflektor is the answer—a soaring sonic soundscape ranging across modern rock’s world.

Produced by former LCD Soundsystem front man James Murphy, the album’s first disc explodes with a pastiche of songs that echo The Cure, U2, and the panic-fueled percussion of the Talking Heads. On “The Normal Person,” hear the Rolling Stones meet Nirvana. This is get-up-and-dance big rock music. With the second disc the mood swings to a subtler, more plaintive pace. But side one’s “Here Comes the Night” redux and industrial-funk breakouts reappear.

This fourth Arcade Fire album clocks in at over 75 minutes. Like their earlier works it asks big questions in between the beats about (false) faith and heaven in “Reflektor” and “Afterlife.” Reflektor debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. (Merge Records)

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