The Canadian giants are back in 2017
With 2013’s ‘Reflektor’, Arcade Fire’s fourth album cemented the group as festival-conquering giants. At this stage in their career, they can headline any festival in the world, or translate their club-show beginnings to stadium pyrotechnics. But they remain a band intent on dreaming big and thinking outside the confines of their hugeness. ‘Reflektor’ captured today’s dilemma of being screen-glued and knowingly addicted to technology, without being able to find an exit route. And in true trademark style, it combined this digital paranoia with stargazing love stories, Haitian drums and punk idealism. All this followed adolescence-spanning epic ‘The Suburbs’ (2010), the death-embracing ‘Neon Bible’ (2007) and their clattering, classic debut ‘Funeral’ (2004).
Make no mistake, whichever direction Arcade Fire’s next album takes, it’s unlikely to be understated. Chances are their imminent fifth album will be one of 2017’s biggest, most talked about releases. Here’s what you need to know:
When is the new Arcade Fire album released?
The new Arcade Fire album will be released in 2017.
“It’ll be out this year,” multi-instrumentalist Tim Kinsbury told The Boston Globe in early 2017, while drummer Jeremy Gara claimed his couldn’t embark on a solo tour before Arcade Fire commitments would be taking over this April. That means a new album could be released any moment now, potentially as a surprise release or in line with recently-announced, low-key UK shows this June.
In January, Gara said the upcoming fifth album was being mixed. “At this stage we are still mixing and trying to decide which songs will end up on the record, because we’ve recorded more than we need. But we’re almost finished. I don’t know when it’ll come out, I hope soon,” he said.
Back in June 2016, the band’s Will Butler gave a prospective “spring 2017” release date for the album. “From my perspective, it looks like Arcade Fire starts in April and finish around April 2019,” he said.
Have Arcade Fire released any new songs?
In January, Arcade Fire released anti-Trump single ‘I Give You Power’, featuring Mavis Staples. All proceeds went to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “It’s never been more important that we stick together & take care of each other,” they said when sharing the track.
It’s not yet known whether ‘I Give You Power’ is taken from the fifth album, or whether it’s purely a protest song, shared to coincide with the U.S. President’s inauguration. The track itself gets by on a minimal 808 beat and Staples’ trademark, thunderstruck vocals.
In May 2017, Arcade Fire were reported to have debuted six new songs during a secret show in Montreal. The gig took place at a small space on Parthenais Street in Montreal, with the Montreal Gazette reporting that all attendees were required to check their phones in at the door. The set lasted over an hour, while the six new songs performed “exhibited pop and electronic influences in the vein of [last album] ‘Reflektor’”, according to one lucky attendee. ITK Arcade Fire fansite Arcade Fire Tube also reports that the band may have been filming a new video at the show.
There’s also a strong chance new material will feature a guest spot from Arcade Fire’s fans. During a show at New Orleans festival Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, Butler asked the audience “if they’d like to be on a record.” Met with cheers, he then asked them to repeat a melody, with the intention of it being used in the final recording of a forthcoming new song. Watch that moment below.
What have Arcade Fire said about their new album?
‘I Give You Power’ took a bold anti-Trump stance, and Arcade Fire’s fifth album could be a grander reflection of current, uncertain times. Reflecting on the track back in January, frontman Win Butler told Zane Lowe: “The song was made to come out now. That’s one of the beautiful things about the times we’re in — you can just put something out. It’s the eve of the inauguration and I think it’s easy to get sucked into sitting on the couch and checking your news feed and watching things on CNN, and we’re just musicians and the only thing we really have to offer is our music.”
He added: “With every artist, you have to do what’s in your heart. It’s such an instinctive thing. You have to listen to the little voice. It’s really crazy times — naturally, a lot of art comes out of that.”
But when pressed about how a new album might sound, Butler told Lowe: “The future is unwritten.” That’s about as cryptic as you get.
What have Arcade Fire been up to since Reflektor?
‘Reflektor’’s subsequent tour was one of the most mammoth imaginable, spanning over two years. On most nights, the band also tasked themselves with covering legendary songs by the likes of ABBA, the Ramones and Prince. On paper, it sounded like an exhausting touring experience, and the band could have been afforded a serious break. But every member has remained resolutely busy. Will Butler released debut solo album ‘Policy’ in 2015. Tim Kinsbury did the same under solo moniker Sam Patch this February. Régine Chassagne received an honorary doctorate for “her commitment to Haiti and her impact on the international music scene.” And Win Butler continued shooting hoops by playing a third consecutive year at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, back in February.
In terms of actual band commitments, the group played a handful of shows in 2016, sticking to older material instead of debuting new songs. During an appearance at Lisbon, Portugal’s NOS Alive last July, they covered Nirvana. In January 2016, they played as part of a tribute to the late David Bowie in New York.
Win and Régine made a notable appearance at Jay Z’s star-studded, calamitous TIDAL launch in 2015, stood alongside Madonna, Beyoncé, Kanye West and Rihanna as they all collectively signed a blank piece of paper, committing to artistic freedom and high-quality streaming. “It was a poorly managed launch,” Butler later admitted, when speaking to The Independent, “but conceptually the thing that we liked about Tidal was that it’s HD streaming quality.” There’s a chance that Arcade Fire’s new album could be launched as a Tidal exclusive – the same happened for Rihanna’s ‘Anti’ and Kanye’s ‘The Life of Pablo’. By committing to the launch, the band may have agreed to an exclusive on the service.
Are Arcade Fire touring?
The band’s first official UK show of 2017 takes place in an unlikely locations – Scunthorpe. They’ll also be playing another intimate gig at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange on Thursday June 8. Tickets are sold out.
Following the two low-key club shows, Arcade Fire headline Isle of Wight festival and play huge stadium shows in Manchester, Dublin and Belfast. For the latter two shows, The Kooks are supporting.
Outside of the UK, they play huge festival shows at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound, Hilvarenbeek’s Best Kept Secret, Denmark’s Roskilde and Chicago’s Lollapalooza.
Check out Arcade Fire’s full touring schedule below.
Barcelona Primavera Sound (May 31-June 4)
Lyon Théâtres Romains de Fourvière (June 5)
Scunthorpe Baths Hall (7)
Edinburgh Corn Exchange (8)
Isle of Wight Festival (10)
Belfast Ormeau Park (13)
Dublin Malahide Castle (14)
Cologne Tanzbrunnen (16)
Best Kept Secret Festival (18)
Zagreb INMusic Festival (19-21)
Roskilde Festival (June 24-July 1)
Rock Werchter Festival (June 29-July 2)
Berlin Kindl-Bühne Wuhlheide (July 2)
Manchester Castlefield Bowl (6)
Belfort Les Eurockéennes (6-9)
Linz Ahoi! The Full Hit of Summer (11)
Carhaix Vieilles Charrues (13-16)
Milan City Season Festival (17)
Florence City Season Festival (18)
Chicago Lollapalooza (August 3-6)
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