The upcoming album from Montreal indie rockers the Arcade Fire will give listeners a taste of adolescent life in the suburbs.
After months of anticipation, the band announced Thursday it will release its third full-length studio album, The Suburbs, in North America on Aug. 3.
In the meantime, fans can get a sneak preview thanks to two new songs already making the rounds on the internet. Both The Suburbs and Month of May are also available on a 12-inch single.
Three years after the release of the Arcade Fire's successful sophomore album Neon Bible, multi-instrumentalist band member Will Butler said the group was anxious to release new material.
"We really just wanted to get stuff out there as soon as we can," Butler said. "I wish we were as big as Radiohead, and we could just post it for free online the second we finished it.
"That's the dream when you make music, … but we are not quite at the spot where that makes business sense."
Neon Bible was awarded the 2008 Juno for alternative album of the year. Like the band's debut album, Funeral, it was also nominated for the best alternative music Grammy Award.
'I think it's good for art, to not be comfortable' —Arcade Fire member Will Butler
Butler said the new album builds on his experience growing up in the Houston suburbs with his brother Win, who fronts the band with wife Régine Chassagne.
"We sort of wanted to directly address that, as opposed to pretending we were tough kids from the inner city, or hobos who road the rails. There is always pressure to do that," he said.
"We wanted to talk about what our actual experience, and I think is a lot of peoples' experience, of growing up in the suburbs, wherever that might be."
Butler said the two songs on the single give a good idea of the range of the album, which he described as varying from "rock and roller" to country.
The band — which, along with other recent Montreal success stories including the Stills and Malajube, has brought international attention to the city's indie scene — acknowledges the city has had an impact on its distinct sound.
"It's a place that keeps you on your toes," Butler said. "It's not as insane as New York, but you still feel connected to the world.
Butler said he welcomes the city's multiculturalism and even its unpredictable weather.
"It snowed 2½ weeks ago and then it was 95 degrees yesterday — and then it was hailing and ice was falling from the sky," Butler said. "I just think that keeps you on your toes in a good way.
"I think it's good for art, to not be comfortable."
In an unusual move for the band, the Arcade Fire will return home to headline the Osheaga music and arts festival at Montreal's Jean-Drapeau Park on July 31, one of a few dates before the album's release.
"We didn't want to have to wait. I think we would have gone a little stir crazy," Butler said.
"I'm really excited for it, especially for the live show. You feel like you are out there, doing a job."