I’ve never been to a funeral. I don’t have a car. These facts don’t prevent me from enjoying The Arcade Fire’s first LP, Funeral. The disturbingly large dedications section lists various band members’ deceased relatives, and the songs on the album have a distinctly elegiac feel to them. Win Butler sings in a mourning wail, and Régine Chassagne’s Björk-like voice flits around like a lullaby. The songs aren’t specifically about the aforementioned dead family members, but names are dropped here and there throughout the lyrics, making the songs seem as if they’re odes to people who aren’t around anymore.

This is not to say The Arcade Fire’s music is at all dirge-like. In fact, the band’s four-on-the-floor rhythms, the walls of guitar, and the full-throated shouting of the singers makes Funeral a surprisingly rockin’ album, the kind of thing you turn up nice and loud when you’re driving out of town, watching tract housing turn into farmland, with no other cars on the highway to obstruct your flow. “Death is a journey” is totally a cliché, but sometimes, the cliché fits so well that you don’t really mind.