Make no mistake. This is not only the most important record of this year so far, but also the most important sound produced anywhere in the world so far this year. The build-up to this “release” has been fevered, with the band preferring to casually drop snippets of information on their parched fans, seemingly at random. The announcement that a new single would be available on 12” only whet the appetite nicely. Then at the end of last week, there was the bizarre play-it-yourself segment on their website; a nice little touch, if slightly infuriating.
Then, late last night, it started to filter through that some of the aforementioned vinyl had leaked into the world. Anyone listening to Zane Lowe will have heard him play both tracks. Twice. The tracks have also turned up online. I am not entirely sure how legal it is, but our American cousins can pre-order the album and receive instant downloads of both tracks.
The first track, Suburbs, has just a hint of Beach Boys about it, and it’s evident that the classic Arcade Firesound is somewhat stripped back to basics. The key ingredients are still here, with the dark lyrics about suburban unrest and the urge to break out all present and correct. “Grab your mother’s keys, we’re leaving” drawls Win Butler as early as the third line, and instantly the old familiar thrill of Tunnels and Power Out is back. The new and yet strangely familiar sound makes you feel instantly at home and excited to be back in the present of the world’s best band.
As a contrast, Month of May is much louder, much more bombastic. A louder, fuller band sound crashes over a churning guitar riff, with Win counting in and then proceeding to strain his voice in the way that we all came to love, whilst marvelling at how his vocal cords stood up to it. The brilliant repeated coda makes me wonder just how I will survive until August 2nd, when the full banquet will commence. Until then however, this is a bloody fine aperitif.