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Out with the old, in with the new

March 31, 2008
M83

It’s been three years since a newly solo Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez released the M83 album Before the Dawn Heals Us. If you missed it, it was a brilliant but pretty ridiculous album – a turbocharged Vangelis being fed through a pretentious-motion machine. So many synthesizers, so much excess. It pretty much invented a new sub-genre of progressive shoegazer synth rock. No one else joined for fear of being laughed at, so Gonzalez was left as founding president and honorary treasurer.

Now, after a stop-gap album of chilled-out ambient, M83 have toned down a lot of the excess of Dawn and released the pretty subdued Saturdays = Youth. It’s still ambitious and over-wrought in places, but it’s a much more of a conventional album. Most of the tracks would be perfect fits on an Orchestral Maneovres in the Dark album – and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s actually kind of pop.

Gonzalez can’t resist his absurdly cheesy spoken word samples, though. The superbly catchy “Graveyard Girl” includes a woman intoning “I’m 15 years old and I feel it’s already too late to love. Don’t you?” Emo kids would balk at this, surely.

But if you turn off that part of your brain that winces at cheesiness, you’ll find a lot to love in Saturdays = Youth.

M83 – “Graveyard Girl”

M83 – “Kim & Jessie”

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