Founded in 2001 by friends and classmates Win Butler and Josh Deu, the band came to prominence in 2004 with the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Funeral. Their second studio album, Neon Bible, won them the 2008 Meteor Music Award for Best International Album and the 2008 Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year. Their third studio album, The Suburbs, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim and commercial success. It received many accolades, including the 2011 Grammy for Album of the Year, the 2011 Juno Award for Album of the Year, and the 2011 Brit Award for Best International Album. In 2013, Arcade Fire released their fourth album, Reflektor, and scored the feature film Her, for which band members William Butler and Owen Pallett were nominated in the Best Original Score category at the 86th Academy Awards. In 2017, the band announced their fifth studio album Everything Now. The band's first four studio albums have received nominations for the Best Alternative Music Album Grammy; the band's work has also been named three times as a shortlist nominee for the Polaris Music Prize: in 2007 for Neon Bible, in 2011 for The Suburbs and in 2014 for Reflektor, winning the award for The Suburbs.
The band plays guitar, drums, bass guitar, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard, synthesizer, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin, and hurdy-gurdy, and takes most of these instruments on tour; the multi-instrumentalist band members switch duties throughout shows.