M83 – “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”

This is the sixth album from LA based French hipster Anthony Gonzalez’s M83, after 2008’s breakthrough album Saturdays=Youth. Predictably, it got a reverential nod from the boys at Pravda http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/15881-hurry-up-were-dreaming/?utm_campaign=most-read-week&utm_medium=related&utm_source=pitchfork, as did the equally lauded Destroyer album, Kaputt, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/15034-kaputt/ released earlier this year, and it’s very much in the same vein.

Both are saturated in that lost decade, the 1980s, which they mine exhaustively. But that alas is all Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming does. There’s the twee guitar twang of The Thompson Twins, those Simple Minds power chords, some proto-processed vocals á la Thomas Dolby, a stray, nasaled wail that echoes somewhere between a Simon Le Bon whine and a David Sylvian lament, twixt the ridiculous and the sublime, and all of it drowned in a sea of Casio synths.

It’s like the difference between a scientist with a broad understanding of the world around him who happens to be a bit of a Star Trek buff, and one of those insufferable creatures whose entire life revolves around a tacky TV relic. It’s one thing dipping in and out of your musical heritage and using what you find to fashion something new, as Dan Bejar mostly manages to do with Kaputt, but it’s quite another to have your head buried so far up an era’s orifice that you seem to be incapable of seeing anything else besides.

There are one or two shafts of light, such as Wait, from the first disc, and Splendor and Echoes Of Mine from the second, where he transcends his source material to produce ethereal moments of radiant beauty. But there’s really no excuse to release this as a double album. You feel like you’re being forcibly educated rather than pleasurably nourished.

This is the sort of thing you’ll find in about ten years’ time somewhere in a forgotten corner of a back-up hard-drive (remember those…). You’ll access it, immediately remember what it is, and put it straight back again where you found it. Somehow, it’s not the kind of thing you’ll actually delete. But neither, those three or four tracks aside, will you ever want to listen to it again.

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