It is nearly ten years since Arcade Fire released their debut album, Funeral, undoubtedly one of the finest records released since the turn of the century. Some labelled it as a game-changer, but I'm not so sure about that particular tag. Funeral hardly heralded a period of music history in which vast swathes of followers tried to replicate the cathartic, feral energy created by Win Butler, Régine Chassagne and crew. Or at least no one dared to.

2007's Neon Bible was a huge disappointment, perhaps suffering in comparison to the perfection of the previous LP, but also lacking in emotional connection. Pompous and overblown, Arcade Fire had turned out to be a major disappointment, a flash in the pan, a one-trick pony. Another three years pass, and suddenly Funeral is a fading memory, an album enshrined in time as one of the cultural highs of the 21st century, delivered by a band that had so much more to offer buy couldn't quite build upon that early success. A common story in music, made all the more tragic by the utter brilliance of that first release.

By the time Arcade Fire announced the release of The Suburbs, they were a big band with big expectations. It was a release no way as immediate as their previous work, but given time and space to truly sink in, it was clearly a conceptual masterpiece. Made all the more sweet by the mis-step that was Neon Bible, The Suburbs was the album which reinstated Arcade Fire as the most interesting indie-rock band currently working. All of this, however, just cranks up the anticipation levels once more for their next release. Fortunately, Reflektor is exactly the kind of album Arcade Fire should be releasing at this point in their career. It's aloof, dense, at times hard to navigate and difficult to penetrate, Reflektor is the sound of a band flexing their creative muscles.

There is a great deal of iconoclasm throughout Reflektor, but the sculptures they aim to destroy are self-styled. The first 10 seconds of the album, the warped rising of strings, seem to indicate what could be the beginning of any other Arcade Fire album, but instantly the band demolish the idea before it's even been mooted and set the precedent for the album and their new sound. Enlisting James Murphy to help with the creation of Reflektor has benefitted them the greatest stylistic leap in their career so far. The whole album is shot through the prism of disco shimmer, leaving the agoraphobia of The Suburbs behind and heading for the cluttered inner-city.

Despite a drastic change in territory, Win still finds it hard to be content. Yes, there is a confidence and slight swagger to the sound, but lyrically, there are stories of self-imposed exile, a deep distrust of others and poisonous paranoia remains. This fidgety mentality, and apparently inability to abate these psychological itches means that the album is disparate, unsettled and seemingly trying to shake off the ghosts of their previous sound. There is plenty of strangeness and oddities in this album to throw passive fans off the scent: the stoned West Indian vibes of 'Flashbulb Eyes'; the phony rock-n-roll MC intro to 'Normal Person'; even a cameo appearance from the UK's own Jonathan Ross (sampled from their 2007 performance on the Jonathan Ross show in which Win finished their rendition of 'Keep the Car Running' by smashing a camera).

Reflektor is also an expression of Arcade Fire at their most daring, creative and, as a result, pleasing. The album's self-titled single is at first tricky to get your head around but, as with most of their best work, once you understand the intricacies and parts which make up the whole, each little piece baffle and delight in equal measure, from Rene's French interspersions (a more prominent feature throughout the album than ever before) to Bowie's dramatic backing vocals. As you might imagine, electronic sounds take much more precedence on record than ever before. The warm swells of synths on 'Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)' make way intermittently for acoustic guitar glam-pomp and orchestral chaos, the abrasive electronic bass grind of 'Porno' and, with the album's final flourish, 'Aftertlife' combining all of Reflektor's stylish electro kitsch, a trembling, awakening confidence and one final hook for those who stuck it out to the end to really sink their teeth into.

Reflektor is an album to be devoured several times over. Take a bite and, although the blood may taste metallic, letting the juices dribble across your chin and down your throat is both an erotic and nourishing experience. Apart from Jonathan Ross' little cameo, there's nothing nostalgic about Reflektor, in fact, Arcade Fire have quite blatantly attempted to sever their ties with the rustic operas of Funeral and The Suburbs and, like any journey into the relative unknown, the first few steps are bound to be trepid ones. Reflektor grows into its new sound as the album progresses culminating with the stunning 'Afterlife', a moment to savour in their now spectacular career. This is an admirable progression, but by no means perfect one, however, not many bands as big as Arcade Fire could make a similar transition and come out so triumphantly.