Posted on November 3rd, 2011 (5:46 pm) by Bradley Hartsell

M83 can do no wrong. Anthony Gonzalez (M83's esteemed frontman) is so much farther ahead of every other electronic act alive, and he's been kicking everyone's ass since 2003 when he scorched the earth with Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. 2011 brings us Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, both a classic M83 record and an additional advancement in artistic achievement.

I'd venture to say M83 is like the weird inverse alternate reality My Bloody Valentine (both start with M! Both are kind of cumbersome to say!). MbV, of course, made large dreamscapes with guitar feedback and fuzz, with vocals somewhat of an afterthought. M83 has basically done the same thing, except using keyboards; the music is pretty obviously shoegaze, and nobody did shoegaze better than MbV. The prevailing aspect of Gonzalez is how he builds arean-esque anthems with pummeling percussion and high rising electronic swell. It's basically his staple sound, and here on We're Dreaming, that classic aesthetic returns, anchored by excellent lead single, "Midnight City." The haunting female monologues make their way back, as well; a lot of the times it feels like Gonzalez is just hitting all his favorite notes from 2003. This album, though, is noticeably more "electro-pop," with pop vocals featured on almost every track. Old M83 almost always favored instrumental passages over pop-voiced songs, but Gonzalez lends his voice (surprisingly akin to Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio) to most of these songs with high hopes for vocal hooks.

I don't want to give the impression M83 went the way of pop star; melodic drones still make their way onto the album, such as the instrumental "Where the Boats Go", resplendent with piano and ambiance. "Wait" is brittle ballad, with a sparse arrangement highlighted by Gonzalez's wondrous melody. There are intermittent ambient breathers, like the aforementioned "Where the Boats Go," and also "When Will You Come Home?" and "Fountains." "Splendor" is a saccharine piano ballad, like a close cousin to "Wait." "Outro" should smite every person who ever aspires to pick up a keyboard again. Song after song is pure, unadulterated electro-clarity of artistic command realized.

Would it be too simplistic to say this is almost exactly arranged like previous M83 albums, only with more vocals? I don't think so. If you like M83, there's nothing stopping you from getting into We're Dreaming unless you have some weird aversion to good vocal melodies. The slightly '80s affected synth-pop music shimmers, buzzes, rises, and explodes like almost every other M83 song to come before. The arrangements are deft, with everything flowing with the dexterity of a hundred musicians. There's certainly a feeling associated with listening to this band. Part watching the sun birth, part watching a panoramic scrapbook of everyone and everything you care about, part being alive on a perfect planet. It's all a beautiful thing and nobody captures it better than M83.

Track List
1. Intro
2. Midnight City
3. Reunion
4. Where the Boats Go
5. Wait
6. Raconte-Moi Une Histoire
7. Train to Pluton
8. Claudia Lewis
9. The 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. Echos of Mine
21. Klaus I Love You
22. Outro

Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

87 / 100
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