By ANDREW SOULSBY
M83 isn’t just the designation for a spiral galaxy 15 million light years away – it’s also the name of a French indie pop band whose latest release, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, is reminiscent of music that blared through cassette decks and radios 30 years ago.
Known for their heavy use of reverb effects and gentle vocals played over loud instruments, M83’s latest effort will not disappoint longtime fans. However, it may come as a shock to someone who isn’t expecting the attempt to reincarnate a style of music the British press dubbed “shoegazing.” The term was coined due to the rise in electronic bands during the ’80s and early ’90s who relied heavily on foot pedals to add in reverb and other effects to their music during concerts, restraining them to one spot on the stage while staring at their feet.
The album begins with a track aptly named Intro that sets the course through 72 minutes of vast astral electronica with a few speed bumps made of songs that could have easily made their way into a John Hugh’s angst-driven teen melodrama movie soundtrack.
Midnight City, the first single, and so far only song to be made into a video, is pure sex. It’s catchy with an undeniable tension created by Anthony Gonzalez’s soothing vocals played through a myriad of different synths that all scream “Dance!” If only the entire album was as fun to listen to.
Unfortunately, the album, with a few exceptions along the way, is more of a novelty one would find in an antique store titled, “Things no one cares about anymore.”
While the majority of the album could be sneaked into a local club’s retro night playlist, it will be mostly missed by younger generations and anyone else who deems the ’80s as nothing more than a decade full of terrible fashion mistakes, copious amounts of cocaine and music that could pierce eardrums and shatter glass if played too loudly.
In an interview with the Guardian, Gonzalez, one of the band’s founders, told the British publication that he went to Joshua Tree for inspiration. For those of you who are unaware of what Joshua Tree is, it is a national park in California that is synonymous with isolation and sometimes hallucinogenic drug use. It is a popular destination point for artists and those seeking the “truth.” Gonzalez was quoted as saying, “It’s so clichéd, I know, but it worked. I would rent a small cabin in the middle of nowhere, and I was just making music there, by myself. Those were the best moments. It was a good way to be inspired by something else, the energy from a different landscape.”
For those who enjoy the album, the quote might explain the vastness of the melodies and overall ambient feeling the album conveys. For those of you who don’t, however, it will explain how repetitive and cliché the album actually is.