Arcade Fire have released their eagerly anticipated sixth studio album, WE!
WE’s arrival is preceded by the first single ‘The Lightning I, II’, with a video directed by Emily Kai Bock.
Produced by Nigel Godrich, alongside Arcade Fire’s husband and wife co-founders Win Butler & Regine Chassagne, and recorded in multiple locales including New Orleans, El Paso and Mount Desert Island, WE paradoxically distils “the longest we’ve ever spent writing, uninterrupted, probably ever" (per Win Butler) into a concise 40-minute epic – one as much about the forces that threaten to pull us away from the people we love, as it is inspired by the urgent need to overcome them.
WE’s cathartic journey follows a definable arc from darkness into light over the course of seven songs divided into two distinct sides – Side “I” channelling the fear and loneliness of isolation, and Side “WE” expressing the joy and power of reconnection.
On the album’s cover, a photograph of a human eye by the artist JR evokes Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. This stunning image - embellished by the distinctive airbrush colour tinting of Terry Pastor (utilising the same physical technique he employed on David Bowie’s iconic HUNKY DORY and ZIGGY STARDUST covers) – is the visual expression of WE.
The Grammy award-winning band have been teasing their return this past week with some cryptic postcards sent to fans saying “WE missed you” alongside the sheet music to the new single. The band also did two intimate surprise pop-up shows in New Orleans this week, the proceeds of which were donated to Plus1’s Ukraine Relief Fund. They went live on TikTok & Instagram during the first show in New Orleans, showcasing some new tracks.
The album also includes guest appearances from the legendary Peter Gabriel, as well as Win & Regine’s son.
LP - SIDE A
Age of Anxiety I
Age of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)
End of The Empire I-IV
LP - SIDE B
The Lightning I, II
Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)
Unconditional II (Race and Religion)