Monday, June 18, 2012

Album Review: Man Without Country - Foe

Album Rating: B+
M83 has done a number on us as a music culture. We’re still dreaming, apparently - this is more than alright, considering how much of a universal bombshell Anthony Gonzalez’s latest offering was and how immediately it affected the indie world as we knew it. The double album captured the ideologies of disillusioned teens and adults alike with its simple concept, letting your imagination and dreams run rampant. After all, the album featured a kid rambling about frogs at one point, and the album cover’s duo ignited fire in the hearts of those of us who never quite grew up. People of our ilk must be everywhere, because the album was too; Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming effortlessly climbed its way to the top of everybody’s lists of 2011 and then some. The catalyst for this mass movement was the youthful energy present on the release. We all ache for simpler times, the days when crayons and Sharpies were our utensils to success; enough of keyboards and ballpoint pens, we say.

Man Without Country has been taking notes on elegant simplicity, noting what Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming has cultivated in the modern indie scene and then applying the coats of paint accordingly. What the two have picked up overall is the atmosphere, jarring in the most beautiful way. Warm and lush textures coalescing into syrupy bliss. A healthy passion for the histrionics of 80’s pop music. These elements unite under the same flag on Foe, an alliance of hooks to purpose.

Foe’s success is so immediate because it respects the old while building anew. We have throwbacks to the heyday of our parents, and on the same token we witness a keen adoration for innovation and modern technologies. The computer voices featured on the most emotional songs add a touch of vacancy - they’re accurate for the theme of getting lost in electronics, but frustrating for those wanting to escape the world’s woes. However, those willing to forgive the sometimes melodramatic nature of the album will take solace in the ease in which the album was constructed.

All of the songs take flight without effort, feathers nudged by the evening gust. Each track gets lost in itself, curling up meekly only to unfurl in brilliance. The tension of “Migrating Clay Pigeon” tugs its shackles tighter and tighter, and keeps redefining what we took to be its limit. The most gripping aspect of the album, though, is how haunting it becomes as it snakes through each turn. “Parity” is one of the most emotional songs of the year, pulling off with flying colors what would never be considered a good idea on paper. Not much of this release should work on paper, actually - it takes an active imagination to get lost in Foe.

If M83’s double album was the flashlight illuminating previously aphotic dancefloors, then Foe is the moth relentlessly clinging to the light, sensing meaning and refusing to let go. The album utilizes tools of the past to construct meaningful music with a delightfully modern context, and displays which direction shoegaze-inspired dance music is planning on taking in the near future. It’s a dream from which we won’t be waking up anytime soon, and a much-needed respite from reality that we could all use.

Official Website

1. Foe
2. Puppets
3. Clipped Wings
4. King Complex
5. Ebb & Flow
6. Iceberg
7. Closet Addicts Anonymous
8. Migrating Clay Pigeon
9. Parity
10. Inflammable Heart

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