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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