Arcade Fire Plays Oracle

The Canadian indie alt rockers are on tour promoting a fifth album, Everything Now.


Photo by Greg Aroch

Indie art rock band Arcade Fire loves tweaking its persona often, using outlandish and off-kilter promo antics prolifically to stir things up. Before the release of Arcade Fire’s Caribbean-inspired, Haitian rara-infused Reflektor, its fourth album, for example, the Canadian alt-rock pranksters launched a guerrilla marketing campaign promoting a fictitious new band, The Reflecktors.

Easily one of today’s most popular arena bands, Arcade Fire is touring to promote Everything Now, its fifth and latest offering. This sound sports a poppy new-wave-y energy that recalls the precision of Datarock and the acerbic wit of Sparks. The album is a subtle commentary on the infinite commercialism and media saturation of modern life, where the act of passive media consumerism has become the defining aspect of the American experience, so entangled that Americans regard a choice between political candidates as nothing more than a tribalistic battle of optics.

In the run-up to this album’s release, the band created—surprise!—a fake global e-media company called Everything Now, a monolithic spiritual descendant of satirical megacorps like RoboCop’s Omni-Consumer Products or WALL•E’s Buy n’ Large, to amuse (and perplex) fans, ever loyal. Rather than just another generic anti-capitalism screed about how buying too many refrigerators and color TVs is bad for the soul, Everything Now is laser focused on the peculiar malaise endemic to our time: the paranoia and depression born of media saturation in every aspect of our lives. Heady stuff from a heady band.

Arcade Fire, Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m., tickets start at $26, Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, 

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