Only Sleeping: M83 Album Review

    After five solid albums and a three-year break, Anthony Gonzalez (aka M83) returns with a vast, enriched sound on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming — an epic double LP in which the songwriter tones down the reverb in favor of a kind of retro space-pop.

    Slightly tweaking the more ambient-pop sound of past jams like “Run Into Flowers,” tracks such as first single “Midnight City” layer energetic synths, danceable basslines and delicate, ghastly harmonies on top of Anthony Gonzalez’s usual wall of drone. This early track — a solid, infectious pop gem — provides a break from the denser soundscapes Gonzales returns to later in the album.

    “Wait” utilizes these soundscapes — or indiscernible layers of reverb —  while easing into soft acoustic guitar chords and floating synth bleeps, making for a melancholy slow dance.  Beck producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen interjects orchestral moments that meld perfectly with Gonzalez’s tender, echoing vocals.

    Transitioning straight into “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire,” Gonzalez lays a vocal sample of a young girl expressing her colorful imagination over simple synth loops and a steady, snapping beat. The strong imagery is reminiscent of some lost home video, simultaneously eerie and gorgeous — a spot-on recreation of childhood emotion.

    Latter tracks like “OK Pal” adopt the sounds of the greatest in ’80s pop; Genesis’ reverbed harmonies, DEVO’s funky synth riffs and Spacemen 3’s muffled, oscillating keyboards all reinforce the hazy memory of a first love.

    On Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83 marks its strongest collection to date, affirming not only Gonzalez’s prowess in electronic production, but also his promising move into charming, cohesive songwriting.

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