Clearing the Smoke About Arcade Fire's New Album

At 9:00 tonight, the Arcade Fire will grant fans the first official glimpse of their new Anton Corbijn-directed video, bringing to a fever pitch the chatter over what is already one of the fall's most anticipated albums.

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At 9:00 tonight (9/9 at 9—get it?), Arcade Fire will grant fans the first official glimpse of the Anton Corbijn-directed video for their new single, "Reflektor," bringing to a fever pitch the chatter over what is already one of the fall's most anticipated album drops.

In the meantime, rumors are swirling about what may or may not be the album art, what may or not be the track listing, and what almost definitely is the single in question. In other words: emotions are high, but certainty is low. The band, for its part, has been sticking to cryptic hints and scavenger hunt-style clues, because, well, why not make it a game?

Here's a look at what we know—and what's been floating around in the Internet ether.

The album will be called Reflektor and is out October 29.


The band slyly revealed the album date by way of a tweet reply at a seemingly random fan. In August, they confirmed that the viral "Reflektor" street art campaign was theirs; shortly after, a brief sample of new music on Spotifty confirmed the album name.

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame helped produce the record, or at least part of it.


Murphy isn't so tightlipped as his Canadian pals. Speaking to NME, the dance-punk icon described the music as "awesome" and "really fucking epic." Also: "It sounds like Arcade Fire in the way that only Arcade Fire sound like Arcade Fire, you know?" But does it sound like James Murphy in the way that only James Murphy sounds like James Murphy?

David Bowie appears on the title track and it leaked this weekend.

Just about confirmed. 

Over the weekend, The Sun reported that the Thin White Duke himself would be making an appearance on the record. Exciting, but maybe not shocking—Bowie's comeback year is continuing in full force, and he has made his affinity for the Montreal group known in the past.

Then the track leaked (though a band rep refused to confirm its veracity), and, surprise—that sure as hell sounds like Bowie crooning his way through the last few minutes of the formidable eight-minute disco groove. The track was predictably taken down, but an interactive video just went live, confirming that the audio leak was indeed for real. And that sounds like Bowie, doesn't it? (Update: Yes, it does. And Bowie's reps have confirmed on Facebook that it is indeed him.)

This (pictured above) is the album cover.

Not quite confirmed.

This piece of the puzzle comes via Arcade Fire Tube, a fan-run Twitter that managed to unearth the album listing on New Zealand iTunes, where that image appears above the $17.99 price tag. The image, by the way, depicts a marble Metropolitan Museum of Art sculpture based on the Greek legend Orpheus and Eurydice. If it's the real thing, the cover art will almost certainly draw comparisons to Jay Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail. It's a good year for sculpture experts the world over. (Stereogum, meanwhile, has pointed to an altogether different potential album cover.)

It's a double album!

Also not confirmed.

This, too, stems from the New Zealand iTunes listing, via Arcade Fire Tube. If you take a look at the album listing, you'll see 13 unnamed tracks spread across two discs (or whatever they're called in the digital age):

iTunes Preview, New Zealand 

Of course, that data could well be a placeholder until iTunes (or Gracenotes) receives the correct information—why on earth would nearly every track on the album be exactly seven minutes and 34 minutes in length? And is there really a 10-and-a-half minute closing track? Your call whether or not to be excited at the prospect.

The band will promote the record with an appearance on Saturday Night Live's season premiere.


The band will be taking the stage at Rockefeller Center on September 28, with Tina Fey hosting the show. In the meantime, the members seem to be amusing themselves by playing secret shows under secret names like "The Reflektors" (clever!) at hip salsa clubs in Montreal. Unfortunately for their little ruse, Twitter exists.

The new interactive video for "Reflektor" is nuts.


Already noted for a love of interactive, web-based videos, the band has just shared one such clip created by their friend Vincent Morisset and filmed in Jacmel, Haiti. It's a rather disorienting ride that tells the story of "a young woman who travels between her world and our own." Viewers can control the effects with a mouse, tablet, or mobile device; to watch experience it, you can visit while using Chrome. The video confirms the veracity of the track that leaked over the weekend, but it seems to be altogether different than the Anton Corbijn-directed video that is still set to debut at 9:00:

Maybe Bowie will make an appearance in that one. But no promises.

Update: The second "Reflektor" video, directed by photography maestro Anton Corbijn, has arrived ahead of schedule. It's a film noir tribute of sorts. Here it is:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.