Arcade Fire’s musing about music in the Internet age, “Reflekor,” got a second video Monday (September 9) when the Anton Corbijn-directed vid for the first single off the album by the same name hit the Web.
The black-and-white video comes hot on the heels of an obtuse, interactive version created by Google Creative Labs, which also dropped Monday. The linear iteration, however, is no less dense.
After transforming his band into papier-mâché approximations of themselves — via the giant bobbleheads from their “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” video — lead singer Win Butler herds Arcade Fire into the back of a truck, taking the wheel along with his wife, Régine Chassagne.
The band plays dutifully in the back of the moving truck as Butler and his wife drive through the dark woods, the frontman singing about falling in love “alone on the stage/in the reflective age” — a sentiment perhaps pertaining to his relationship with music in a time when all bands are merely “reflecting” each other and what culture wants. Chassagne then chimes in with a phrase in French, which translates to something like: “Between the night, night and dawn/Between the kingdom of the living and the dead.”
That phrase sets the dark tone for the rest of the video, which finds the crew tooling through the nighttime woods, a man made of mirrors following close on their tail as they stop to pick up a coffin decorated with broken CDs. The band ends up in a field, where the mirrored man apparently lives in a mirrored house, and confronts the shiny spectre with a sea of flashlights. They then tote a disco ball into the long grasses, stare into a pool of water like Narcissus of Greek mythology, confront their flesh and bone counterparts by playing the “mirror game” in the aforementioned field, and break open the coffin and dance with the dolls that they find inside.
Leaving the disco ball in the field, the band then drives away, leaving dolls in their wake — along with bobblehead Butler and Chassagne — returning to the warehouse from whence they came. As the video winds down, their two shadowy figures emerge from the truck and stalk toward the warehouse. However, when they turn around, we see that Butler isn’t Butler after all, but an unknown doll-faced man. Before we can speculate much further, a garage door that bears their geometric Reflektor logo closes, hiding them from sight.
Twisted, strange and laden with layers of meaning, the “Reflektor” video caps a single release that saw strange “Reflektor” graffiti popping up around the world, an Instagram by the same name recording the spread of said graffiti and Arcade Fire rebranding themselves as The Reflektors in a mysterious website.
Their James Murphy-produced single, featuring David Bowie, may have leaked last weekend, but that security breach did little to draw attention from Arcade Fire’s rollout. After all, this is only the first track off of Reflektor. One can only imagine — or perhaps, can’t imagine — what will come next.
“Reflektor” will be available on vinyl at participating stores at 9 p.m., released until Arcade Fire’s The Reflektors moniker.