M83 dream up new record

By Gus Bode

Provided Photo

4/5 Stars

French pop act, M83 captures its entire essence with the mere title of its new album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.” Since its 2001 self-titled debut, the group spent the last decade mixing lush electronic rhythms, layered synthesizers and haunting harmonies into a dreamlike soundscape for listeners.

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Anthony Gonzalez is the mastermind behind M83. Although the act was originally introduced as a duo, Gonzalez parted ways with founding member Nicolas Fromageau after the release of their sophomore album, 2003’s “Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghost.”

Since then Gonzalez has collaborated with a slew of studio musicians but now primarily records with his brother Yann Gonzalez, vocalist/keyboardist, Morgan Kibby, guitarist/bassist Pierre-Marie Maulini and drummer Loïc Maurin.

Here on the ninth studio album the group’s trippy, electronic-influenced psychedelia is richer, fuller and vivid as ever. The double-disc record is a sonic time capsule, blending together sounds of 70’s progressive rock, 80’s New Wave pop and 90’s shoegazer alternative rock. If this all sounds a bit pretentious that’s because it is. Nothing about Gonzalez is subtle, which is evident by making the album’s intro the longest track on the record.

The album’s lead single, “Midnight City,” sounds like the Miami Vice soundtrack filtered through the grubby fingers of bohemian Brooklyn hipsters. The song’s pulsating rhythm and MGMT style harmonies explode into a chorus that refuses to let its listeners sit still.

“Reunion” is a surreal, bouncing track with Gonzalez’ clashing yelps and harmonies atop miles of keyboards, fuzzy guitars and drum machines. The track is a standout amongst the album, which gets too comfortable with itself and begins to meld into a pile of similar sounds.

The emotionally heavy “Wait” and preschool confessional “Raconte-moi une historie” separate themselves from the pack, but the remainder of the album is carried by the overall daydream sonic atmosphere.

Though M83 has the sound, potential and talent to be as big as its contemporaries Air, Foster The People or MGMT the group lacks the pop sensibility for its “Pumped Up Kicks” or “Kids” style breakout hit. Which is probably exactly how Gonzalez wants it.

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