“It’s the age of doubt/and I doubt we’ll figure it out”. So begins Arcade Fire’s sixth album WE. First track “Age of Anxiety I” from which those lyrics are pulled starts with a piano and a light pulse in the background before the pulse gets turned up and a beat comes in. At nine minutes, “End of the Empire I-IV” has a wistful yet futuristic feel, turning a neat Bowie trick as Win Butler sings of the end of the American Empire. Even though it’s slower in tempo, “The Lightning I,II” feels anthemic as Butler sings “We can make it if you don’t quit on me”.
Sung for Butler and Regine Chassagne’s son, “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” is a modern folk track that is an album highlight before the title track settles the record down with an acoustic guitar. Produced by Nigel Godrich with Butler and Regine, it is the last album to feature multi-instrumentalist Will Butler. As on many AF releases, Regine’s vocals popping in on tracks is often a highlight and the drumming of Jeremy Gara is rock solid. With its use of synths and slower moods, WE can drift in and out of consciousness that often works well as background music, that can be left on repeat for hours.