Arcade Fire The Suburbs (Merge/Mercury) Few bands have received as many accolades in so short a time as the Montreal-based indie act Arcade Fire, who have been a critics' darling since arriving on the scene in 2004. Fewer still could withstand the hype. For their third effort, The Suburbs, the band released eight album covers followed by a live concert webcast filmed by director Terry Gilliam. Amazingly, this complex, lengthy effort by the seven-piece band is their best yet. In keeping with their sense of confusion over the suburban boredom of their youth and what they see as the fast-paced, crumbling and regretful world of tomorrow, the 16 songs musically echo their lyrics with a range that cleverly apes 1980s synth acts, alternative bands du jour and their anthemic selves. That's why the raw, post-punk vibe of tracks such as Month of May sound like a new act trying to impress a jaded audience. It's also the reason why Regine Chassagne - the female vocal foil to husband and main songwriter Win Butler - wispily sings about a 'suburban sprawl' over dark synths and electronic drums that could be Depeche Mode in drag. 'We used to wait for it,' Butler sings on Modern Man. 'Now we're screaming 'sing the chorus again'.' Those who enter this musical suburb won't have the same sentiments as they keep one of the year's best on repeat.