Arcade Fire’s fourth LP was an artistic triumph that came with oversized buzz thanks to a well-constructed marketing campaign. It was one of our favorite albums of 2013. But not everyone loved Reflektor and now frontman Win Butler has responded to one high-profile pan.
Last fall, we learned how Arcade Fire’s publicist arranged for an early rave for Reflektor in Rolling Stone:
I had people completely outside this business saying to me, “Oh, those reviews have been great! … Oh my god, they’re everywhere.” And it was just one [Rolling Stone] review that all these people were linking back to because that was their only resource.
Of course once the album came out, not every review was as kind. According to a new Arcade Fire feature also in Rolling Stone, the one that got the most attention came from The Washington Post’s Chris Richards: Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’: Still Devoid Of Wit, Subtlety And Danger, Now With Bongos.
Look, I’m sure they’re very nice people, but on their fourth album, “Reflektor,” Arcade Fire still sound like gigantic dorks with boring sex lives.
Ouch. RS asked Butler about it:
“Yeah, I read it,” Butler says, frowning. “I don’t want to say it was racist – but it was mildly uneducated.” He was particularly annoyed by the three jokes about the band’s new bongos, pointing out (rightly) that a professional music critic should know they were congas. He also says, not unfairly, that there may be some sour grapes: “The guy who wrote it played in a band that we used to open for. It seems like a bit of a conflict of interest.”
But when I jokingly ask if he wants to confirm or deny that he’s a gigantic dork, Butler rolls his eyes. “Whatever,” he says, his voice dripping sarcasm. “I’m a super-dork because I play with David Bowie. Bruce Springsteen wants to cover my songs because I’m such a dork. I’m not a dork,” he says earnestly. “I’m a fucking rock star.”
(Richards was in the D.C. post-hardcore trio Q And Not U.)
Rolling Stone’s Arcade Fire feature can be found in the 1/16 issue on newsstands now.