The problem with Arcade Fire is they get all hysterical right away without providing a reason or context. The Strokes do this. But it’s okay because eventually they do get around to explaining the situation—who has been dumped or who is having an existential crisis—and offering some possible suggestions as to why or what kind of pills may help.
Plus The Strokes, you sort of sympathize with. They can’t help it. That’s just what they do. It’s just how they feel. Whereas you get a sense Arcade Fire is trying for something more.
As for the music, it’s an orchestralized reformulation of things we’ve heard before. The cadences of The Strokes, the garage sound of the Pixies. “Wakeup” suddenly breaks into an Iggy Pop riff straight off of the Trainspotting soundtrack. Like we wouldn’t notice? There’s even a simulation of Bjork on “Backseat.” The first few times, it really is pretty exhilerating to listen to. I think Haiti is quite a good track as well as the line "When daddy comes home, you always start a fight..."