During the downtime between Funeral and the beginning of recording sessions for Neon Bible, the band purchased a defunct church in the small Quebec town of Farnham, approximately 70 kilometres (45 miles) outside of Montreal, and spent the early part of 2006 converting it into a recording studio.
The first track officially released from Neon Bible was “Intervention” in December 2006 on iTunes. Proceeds from this release were dedicated to Partners in Health.An error resulted in a second song, “Black Wave/Bad Vibrations”, appearing on iTunes for a short time. The album was leaked to peer-to-peer networks on January 26, 2007, and was officially released March 5, 2007 in the UK and March 6 in North America. Neon Bible premiered at number 1 on the Canadian Albums Chart and the Irish Album Charts, and number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 charts and the UK Top 40 Album Chart for the week of March 12, 2007.The album was also number 1 on the Rock and Indie album charts. The first proper single, “Black Mirror”, was announced in January 2007. Displaying echoes of British band Echo & the Bunnymen, “Black Mirror” reached the #1 spot on CBC Radio 3’s R3-30 chart for five consecutive weeks, from March 22 to April 19, 2007, and was the first single by any band ever to spend more than two weeks atop the chart. The album gained much critical acclaim (even being mooted as a strong contender for album of the year), and because of its success saw the band proclaimed the most exciting act on the earth by British music magazine Q. Paste voted it one of the five best albums of 2007.Trouser Press writer Jason Reeher ranked Neon Bible “among the best indie rock recordings of all time.”
The Arcade Fire played on Saturday Night Live on February 24, 2007, performing “Intervention” and “Keep the Car Running”.Owen Pallett was not present because he was recording for his own project, Final Fantasy. During the performance, one of Win Butler’s guitar strings broke, prompting him to rip the strings from his acoustic guitar and smash it on the floor until it shattered. On this guitar, “sak vide pa kanpe” was written in duct tape across the front. A Haitian proverb meaning “An empty sack cannot stand up” in Creole, this was a reference to the extreme poverty of Haiti, the country of origin of Régine Chassagne.
On July 10, 2007, Neon Bible was named to the shortlist for the 2007 Polaris Music Prize. Patrick Watson was announced as the winner at a gala ceremony on September 24, 2007. However, due to the band’s preference not to participate in compilation albums, they were the only nominee not to have a track on the Polaris promotional compilation 2007 Polaris Music Prize. Some media initially reported that the Polaris committee had snubbed the band by excluding them, leading the band and the committee to issue a joint press release confirming that the band chose not to have a track included on the album.
The Neon Bible tour continued into September 2007 with 25+ dates scheduled in North America and Europe through mid-November. In Paris the band did a Take-Away Show video session shot by Vincent Moon.The band toured Australia and New Zealand for the first time in early 2008 as part of the 2008 Big Day Out festival. On October 14, 2007, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne made a surprise guest appearance at a Bruce Springsteen show in Ottawa, playing “State Trooper” and “Keep the Car Running”.The band committed to give Partners in Health $1.00, £1.00, or €1.00 of every ticket sold on its 2008 European and North American tours.
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