Arcade Fire, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever + more, our favourite records of the week

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Arcade Fire, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever + more, our favourite records of the week

(Image: Nick Mckk)
Words by Mixdown Staff

Acrade Fire returns, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever raise the standard, and Simple Plan emanates nostalgia

This week, Arcade Fire end their five-year absence, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever kick it up a notch, and Simple Plan sticks to the winning formula.

This week’s top picks:

  • Arcade Fire – WE
  • Rolling Blackouts –  Endless Rooms
  • Simple Plan – Harder Than It Looks

Read all the latest music news here.

Arcade Fire – WE

The iconic band’s first new album in five years, WE has been met with instant critical acclaim, with many praising it as some of their best ever work.

Written, recorded, and produced by Arcade Fire founders/husband and wife team Win Butler and Regine Chassagne with Nigel Godrich during the COVID pandemic and a time of great social upheaval, WE‘s songs reflect the experiences of the past two years, with Side “I” channelling the fear and loneliness of isolation and Side “WE” expressing the joy and power of reconnection.

It’s always been a family affair for Arcade Fire – and the new album includes the voice of Win and Regine’s child (whose eye is also the centrepiece of the new album’s cover art) and even Win’s mother plays harp on the album. Elsewhere, pop legend Peter Gabriel (one of Regine’s heroes) lends his vocals to a song on the album.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Endless Rooms

Endless Rooms is the band’s most cinematic, stylistically diverse and ambitious album yet. Self-produced by the band with Matt Duffy, and mixed by Scott Horscroft (DMA’S, Silverchair, The Presets), Endless Rooms pulls back the curtain on what Rolling Blackouts C.F. can achieve, revealing a wider screen, deeper narrative currents, more confident shades, and an excitement at letting their tumbling brand of ragged, nervy pop wander and breathe.

It’s in the mid-tempo mirror ball groove gurning under an enormous frazzled lead guitar hook on ‘Dive Deep’, the melancholic choruses that blossom in ‘Caught Low’ and ‘Blue Eye Lake’; the glittering midnight sheen of late night driving anthem ‘Vanishing Dots’; and the celestial organ and glockenspiel that has closer ‘Bounce of the Bottom’ unspooling into a buoyant, life-affirming earworm.

“After three albums and a couple of EPs in, I think we back ourselves now,” says Tom Russo. “We push each other to make the songs stronger. And if a bit feels lazy, it doesn’t get past anymore. We started as a bedroom songwriting project, but at heart we’re a live jam band. With this record we tried to capture that live expansiveness.

Simple Plan – Harder Than It Looks

Harder Than It Looks: an album title that, true to form, elevates the adolescent joy hard-coded into Simple Plan’s DNA since day one while at the same time reinforcing a sense of self-awareness that’s guided them through a career full of ups and downs. 

The band shares: “We poured our hearts and souls into these new songs and we’re so proud of this record.

“More than 20 years into our career, we love being in this band more than ever and still have the same passion for playing music and writing songs together that we’ve had since day one.

“We made a classic, quintessential Simple Plan record that our fans will absolutely love and it was amazing to go back to our roots and unapologetically embrace what has made this band special to so many people: fun, catchy, honest and emotional songs that will make you feel less alone, put a smile on your face and give you hope.”