I'll be the first to admit that the slick, grandiose melodies of Arcade Fire took a while to grow on me. In fact, it wasn't until last autumn when I finally took a shine to Win Butler and his crew of avant garde Canadians. And, interestingly enough, very little of my introduction to Arcade Fire had to to with Arcade Fire themselves.
It was a cover song that did it. (This is where you can answer "Of course it was, Amber." and roll your eyes because, by now, I'm sure you've caught on to the fact that most things in my life can be traced back to a cover song.) I was on the corner of Southport and Belmont at Schubas, the best tavern in the world, seeing Sea Wolf. Opening for him were Port O'Brien and a lovely woman named Sara Lov, formerly of Devics. Sara's music is lilting and has a music box like quality to it and her voice is smooth and feminine but never borders on saccharine. Where other like-sounding ladies like Eisley get a bit too produced and darling for my own personal tastes, Lov maintains her indie sensibilities and also churns out some bad ass covers, including one of Beck's "Timebomb" and a seductive, stripped down take on a track from Arcade Fire's sophmore LP, Neon Bible, "My Body Is A Cage".
Lov's take on "My Body Is A Cage" exposes the simplicity of the song and finds her exposing the gentle, heartfelt sincerity of Butler's lyricism, all the while keeping the song's haunting elements intact. Maybe it's just that I heard Lov's version first but, in my opinion, her version outpaces Arcade's Fire. Of course, it's totally likely that I'm predisposed to prefer Lov given the fact that my last name is Valentine and us romantically named gals have got to stick together.
Bonus! Check out a post-script of sorts to last week's ode to Ted Leo's creative take on Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Maps" by indulging in Arcade Fire's gorgeous version of the tune!