Since Arcade Fire debuted with Funeral, their 2004 masterpiece about death and grieving, one aspect has defined their epic music above all else: They’re not ones for subtlety. Like 2013’s overwrought Reflektor, the band’s fifth LP tackles information overload in the digital age — but the result is hit-and-miss. The concept lands beautifully on “Everything Now,” a heartland-rock ode to consumption; less so on “Infinite Content,” a 97-second ditty with the trite refrain “Infinite content, we’re infinitely content.”
Lyrical shakiness aside, Everything Now is musically rousing, from the dubby “Peter Pan” to the anxious funk of “Good God Damn” to “Signs of Life,” which channels the dance-punk of longtime collaborators LCD Soundsystem.
The best moment comes on “Creature Comfort,” where the band pairs a menacing synth riff from Portishead’s Geoff Barrow with a sunny indie-pop melody for new-wave-y bliss. Like Everything Now‘s subject matter, Arcade Fire gets a bit excessive — yet their fearlessness has resulted in some of the most ambitious music of their career. B+