M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Mute)

October 25, 2011 by  

A few months back the blogosphere caught wind of an M83 single named ‘Midnight City,’ and word that Anthony Gonzalez (the brains behind the act) would be releasing a new double album titled ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ in the fall. The track itself was an epic sounding swirling dreamy synth-fest drawing back to 1980′s nostalgia, and heavily influenced by the synth-pop bands of yesteryear. If you like the sound of that description then ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ will be more of a perfect fit than those retro oversized shoulder pads you brought down from the loft.

The album starts like the gates have been opened up to electronica heaven. Arpeggio styled synths lay the foundation of the ‘Intro,’ while church-like reverb and enchanting pads prolong that feeling of rapture up until the climax at the end. It feels like you’re on a trip to a dreamland where angels are sitting on clouds nodding their heads playing Roland SH-01 synthesizers while Zola Jesus’ warming vocals are added to welcome you and make you feel at ease. It’s a perfect introduction to the rest of disk one of the album.

That 80′s style mentioned earlier is continued from ‘Midnight City’ and becomes highly noticeable in the tracks ‘Reunion’ and ‘Claudia Lewis’. ‘Reunion’ starts like that famous Simple Minds song (‘Don’t You Forget About Me’), before evolving into some present day Duran Duran B-side. On the other hand ‘Claudia Lewis’ has that signature guitar sound which seems to appear on the soundtrack of every popular 80′s movie ever made. For fans growing up around that era, it will cause a nostalgic smile, but for M83′s younger listeners a bit of research may be needed before they can fully embrace the album.

One of the highlights of the first disk is the track which has a completely different style to any other. Unlike the rest of its upbeat brothers and sisters, ‘Wait’ is a slow, sombre shoe gaze tune which uses an instrument Gonzalez isn’t familiar with: the acoustic guitar. This is the first time it’s ever been used on an M83 album, but here it makes a wonderful debut. The guitar is the backbone of the song and, along with Gonzalez’s whispering vocals and loose cries of “no time,” it embodies the track in a wave of sadness. It’s as if Gonzalez is inviting you to think of broken dreams and heartache along with him.

As soon as you listen to disk two you realise that Gonzalez has really perfected his sound sonically. This double album is not meant for mobile phones or in-built computer speakers; to get that epic audio feeling to hit places in your ears you didn’t even know exist, you’ll need studio standard monitors or great headphones. This may seem musically snobbish but this is how the album is designed.

The second part of the album also feels like a heavier listen, as Gonzalez tones down the 80′s vibe slightly and adds some heady galactic sounds which seem to be hit and miss with the tracks on disk two. Sometimes they can work extremely well- one track where they really stand out is ‘Steve McQueen’. The swooning alien-like chimes and synths take over the song and make it more like an otherworldly feel good dance hit from the future instead of an upbeat 80′s disco floor filler.

‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ is a lengthy album and one that needs you to empty your head, sit down and be patient before you can fully absorb it. The results will depend on the vastness of your own imagination. After all, this is musical escapism, a soundtrack for everyone’s dreams, and by the end of it, you’ll believe anything is possible.

[rating:4]


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