M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-09-22

Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts is the second album from French electronica duo M83 (Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau) who, thankfully, derive their name from a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Hydra and not from an interminably lacklustre stretch of noxious British motorway. The name certainly nods to where their wide-eyed spaced-out technicolour imaginations are fixed, but they also know how to sound ponderously intense--hence the cold, cello-aided sonority of "Gone", possibly the only track on the album that defies the lambent warmth of the purring analogue synths and beguiling reveries that make the rest of the album as enticingly therapeutic as a thermal spa.

Humane post-rock is clearly M83's strongest attribute because both "Run into Flowers" and "On a White Lake, Near a Green Mountain" are curiously pretty cameos, far removed from the automatic anaemia of other workmanlike button-pushers. The high point, though, is the symphonic sweetness and motherly female choral vocals of "Beauties Can Die", which is rather like being cradled in the arms of an angel, or at the very least the arms of Sigur Ros and Lesley Garrett. If one really has to die and go to heaven, one rather hopes the journey up there will sound like this. --Kevin Maidment

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