M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

by Steve Rhodes Rating:7.5 Release Date:2011-10-17

It's been three years since M83 produced the beautifully understated Saturdays=Youth LP and they've certainly been busy. Artists who produce double albums can be pigeon-holed as ambitious and confident, or arrogant and suffering from a lack of creative control. Hurry Up, We're Dreaming and its 22 tracks, thankfully sits in the former camp.

Beginning, logically, with 'Intro', the use of the moody chauntese Zola Jesus is an inspired choice. The song almost mirrors 'Moonchild', the opener from 2005's Before the Dawn Heals Us, in its gentle, whispered opening, before Anthony Gonzalez booms "Carry on". This leads into Zola Jesus' optimistic vocal and the song adds the collages of euphoric electronic sounds which M83 are famous far. A luscious, driving opening which sets the tone of the album admirably.

Boom and blast figure predominantly too, particularly early on. Lead single 'Midnight City' favours the big noise electronica of MGMT and The Naked and Famous, with a hypnotic electronic sound loop that drives the song, sandwiched between Anthony's introspective, multi-tracked vocal. 'Reunion' uses more guitar, drums and bass, but is equally retro-fixated, with a big, anthemic vocal either side of the whispered female voice that dominated much of the last album. A song which is relevant to the 80s or the shoegazing heyday of '91 as it is today, and along with 'Midnight City' would light up any dancefloor.

On this album M83 certainly share of a fondness of electro-pop, as evidenced by 'Claudia Lewis', with its drums, synths, guitars and especially bass directly beamed from the early to mid 80s. The vocal, which almost blends Nick Kershaw and - dare I say it - Howard Jones, adds further evidence for the prosecution. 'OK Pal' could soundtrack The Breakfast Club in space. Though 'Steve McQueen' is perhaps a better amalgamation of then and now, with leanings towards Giorgio Moroder in the keys and tinged with an oriental flavour. It is a song that is full of warm electronica and powerful washes of guitar and is a delight.

Though often fixed on the distant past, a major positive with Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is that it crams in a number of styles. Fans of M83's past output will delight at the brief 'Another Wave From You' and 'The Bright Flash', the latter full of their traditional rolling drums and driving walls of synth and textured guitars. The album is also peppered with short interludes such as the warm, instrumental wash of 'Where the Boats Go', the fairground-esque 'Trains to Pluton' and the retro 'Klaus I Love You'. With 'My Tears Are Becoming a Sea' and 'New Map' there are also clear nods towards more recent groups such as Animal Collective, Yeasayer or Band of Horses in the style and particularly the vocals.

Other songs stand out. 'Splendor' is a slow, piano-led, enchanting number that leads into an euphoric Tomorrow's World-inspired middle. 'Your One, Your UFO', out-spaces Mercury Rev in their most cosmic persona and 'Raconte-Moi Uni Histoire' is a Yazoo meets Jackanory fable.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, is the use of acoustic guitars to lead and accompany a number of tracks. 'Wait' is a great example of this organic progression, relying on far less effects than the norm. The drum-less 'Soon My Friend' is perhaps the highlight of these and of the whole album, again taking an acoustic lead, but developing into a John Barry-led James Bond theme. The lyric ("I'll be yours, someday") is beautifully repeated and wills you to sing along, with your hands waving in the air, in a Polyphonic Spree kind of way.

If there's one niggling problem with Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is that there's nothing quite as instant and stand-out as 'Kim & Jessie' or Skin of the Night' on this album. With so many tracks, it's hardly surprising too that Hurry Up We're Dreaming seems sprawling and appears to be a little unfocused, but it is still a huge leap forward and a welcome return for M83. If they can replicate this live they may get the breakthrough into the mainstream that they deserve.

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