Arcade Fire have announced their new album. Entitled WE, the band’s sixth full-length is due out on May 6th via Columbia Records. As a preview, they’ve shared the first single, “The Lightning I, II.”
Arcade Fire set out to record an album in February 2020, but when the pandemic began, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne decided to hunker down and write more songs instead of sticking with what they already had. “It was the longest we’ve ever spent writing, uninterrupted, probably ever,” Butler said in a statement.
The finished product, WE, is at once a double album and a practice in restraint. Seven songs unravel in 40 minutes, split between two sides: Side “I” deals in isolation, while Side “WE” revels in human connection. The project was produced by Radiohead’s go-to boardman, Nigel Godrich, as well as Butler and Chassagne, and recorded across New Orleans, El Paso, Texas, and Mount Desert Island, Maine.
First single “The Lightning I, II” opens Side “WE,” emerging from the record’s initial darkness with a growing eagerness for better days. “Waiting on the lightning/ Waiting for the light/ What will the light bring?” Butler sings. The song comes with a music video directed by Emily Kai Bock, which you can watch below.
Earlier this week, Arcade Fire performed their first full-band live show — unless you count a set at a crypto corporate event — in over two years, a Ukraine relief benefit concert where they unveiled WE cuts “The Lightning I, II,” “Age of Anxiety,” “Rabbit Hole,” and “Generation A.”
01. Age of Anxiety I
02. Age of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)
03. End of the Empire I-IV
04. The Lightning I, II
05. Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)
06. Unconditional II (Race and Religion)