Arcade Fire came from out of nowhere back in 2004 with their debut album, "Funeral," whose blend of down-home instrumentation and stadium-size drama knocked everyone's socks off. The album earned a spot on all the influential year-end lists as well as high-profile admirers like David Bowie and David Byrne. "Funeral" even found its way onto the Billboard Top 200 chart -- a fantastic feat for an album with so little radio play. The best thing about the buzz was that so little of it was hyperbole; "Funeral" was a genuinely great album. So for a lot of people, the release of the band's second disc, "Neon Bible," is one of the music year's big events. (Look for a review in this space later today.) "Black Mirror" is the album's lead-off track, and with its unsettled feeling and Win Butler's foreboding lyrics, it certainly seems like the work of the band that made "Funeral." The song doesn't quite explode with passion the way the band's best music does, but it's got enough going on to be a slow grower.
-- David Marchese