When the Quietus' Luke Turner recently ripped into Public Service Broadcasting's new LP Every Valley, I was moved to come its defence, on the grounds that the review was a grossly unfair hatchet job that seemed to be motivated primarily by a long-standing personal antipathy to the band in question. Less than a month later, the site has published another excoriating dissection - this time of Arcade Fire's much anticipated Everything Now, which Anna Wood has blasted as "the patronising, self-aggrandising, mean-spirited product of a deeply conservative and almost unbearably pompous group".
While I'd certainly consider myself an Arcade Fire fan, and I quickly grew to like the title track, released as the lead single, I'm less inclined to post an indignant riposte this time around. Quite apart from the fact that I haven't actually heard the album yet, I was distinctly underwhelmed by their last record, Reflektor, which seemed like a smug, superficial parody/mockery of everything they'd previously done, so Wood's piece doesn't smack of misrepresentation. What's more, unlike Turner's verdict on Every Valley, her savage assessment has been corroborated by several others whose opinions I respect, including Norman Records and Louder Than War's Simon Tucker. The latter tells me it's "truly, truly awful" and "musically insipid & lyrically tedious and cringe inducing".
It may be that it's not quite as bad as all that - but comments like these, and Wood's demolition job, don't really make me want to bother finding out for myself.