Thursday, September 8, 2011

Album Review: M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

The first album we've heard from Anthony Gonzalez in three years, and what a refresher. M83 comes roaring back, as much as a shoegaze band can, with Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, a diadem of a double album that easily exceeds the hype that was started for in back in June. The feel for the record is pretty true to the title - Gonzalez himself told Spin magazine that it's "mainly about dreams, how every one is different, how you dream differently when you're a kid, a teenager, or an adult". The album has a lot of great musical moments that connect to those visions of dreams that Gonzalez has, and adopt a mixture between the styles of Saturday = Youth and Before the Dawn Heals Us, with plenty of both synth-pop and dream-pop interchanged with the tracks, and plenty of variety to go around the 22-track double-album.

The first CD of the album felt a lot more like the aforementioned Saturday = Youth, with a fantastic set of synth-pop numbers that brightened the spirit, like a child's youth or a rebellious teen's hopeful bravado. Tracks like "Reunion" felt like they belonged in this advancing age of electronic music, and had a lot of neat poppy feel, like simple drums, some great riffing on a reverbed guitar, all with an airy synth layer on top. The disc also had synth-pop with a more vintage feel, like "Claudia Lewis", it felt like a late 70's, early 80's electronic / prog rock ballad, with bright rock organ tones, a very open, echoing vocal effect, and sassy, treble heavy bass lines, fitting perfectly along a band like Styx or Toto.

The second CD had a lot more of the older M83 feel, with a lot more focus on electronic effects and a lighter, calmer feel. The beginning of "New Map" feels a lot like something off of Before the Dawn Heals Us, which makes a lot of sense. However, there's some new innovation here too, as I don't know that I recall any pieces that worked solo piano just as well as "Splendor", if at all, in Gonzalez's repertoire. The piece has some great moments, too; sections that sound like they were performed by a children's choir and a church organ, with the constant piano sound in the background, and Gonzalez's (along with a few extras) voice fills the other portion with hopeful lyrics that complete the bright, burning feel of this song, simply endowed with a fiery, optimistic passion.

Anthony Gonzalez describes his new album as "very, very, very epic", and I don't know that I can do much but agree. He put together a fantastic double album, which was a perfect way to show that the whole time M83 was quiet or occupied, he was indeed working the entire way, and has twenty-two fantastic tracks to show for it. The way he focused on dreams for the album's concept was a neat idea, and though it may not shine through on every track, the underlying theme is always there, displayed in a different way in every track, but always hitting home a new emotion, a new feel, and it's what really makes this album soar.

Keep up with Gonzalez on the M83 site! Also, check out M83 on Soundcloud and MySpace!

Track Listing:

01) Intro (ft Zola Jesus)
02) Midnight City
03) Reunion
04) Where The Boats Go
05) Wait
06) Raconte-Moi Une Histoire
07) Train To Pluton
08) Claudia Lewis
09) This Bright Flash
10) When Will You Come Home?
11) Soon, My Friend
12) My Tears Are Becoming A Sea
13) New Map
14) OK Pal
15) Another Wave From You
16) Splendor
17) Year One, One UFO
18) Fountains
19) Steve McQueen
20) Echoes of Mine
21) Klaus I Love You
22) Outro

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