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Issue 100 - THE ORCADIAN FIRE

Whisky Magazine Issue 100
December 2011

 

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THE ORCADIAN FIRE

Canadian band, Arcade Fire are one of the most talked about acts in the world, having won both Grammy and Brit Awards for their critically acclaimed album The Suburbs and attracting an army of fans from their awe-inspiring live shows. Neil Ridley caught up with the band at their sell-out gigs in London's Hyde Park & Edinburgh Castle to discuss a successful career and their love of whisky.

Some bands are destined to leave a legacy for doing things their own way and creating a sound that defies genres, boundaries and, in places, description. For Montreal's Arcade Fire the idea of placing boundaries in front of their sprawling yet dense, sound stage is never an option and listening to the progression of themes and emotions across their three highly successful studio albums, one can begin to understand a little bit about what drives the group forward. On their emotional debut record, Funeral, simple vocal melodies, often sung in unison are effortlessly backdropped by sparse piano and swirling string arrangements, highlighting the band's personal experiences surrounding the loss of several close family members.

2006 saw them decamp to a disused church, complete with a full pipe organ to record their second album, Neon Bible; an anthem-driven body of work, which is now widely regarded as a modern classic. To hear the eight-piece (led by husband & wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne) perform the stirring hymn-like lead track, Intervention live is a truly spine-tingling experience. Indeed, as the 65,000-strong crowd files into a sunny Hyde Park in the centre of London, for the band's huge headline show, there is a palpable sense of excitement and a unified expectation that this show will see Arcade Fire perform at their anthemic very best. But I'm not just on a mission to enjoy the band's undoubtedly brilliant stage show.

Along with my colleague, fellow whisky wri...

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