M83 album takes listeners on a celebratory journey

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Review

Ten years after his debut as M83, Anthony Gonzalez has taken his dream pop ambiance to a whole new level. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is the French artist’s revolutionary creation, veering from his past work and a manifesto to new beginnings.

The shoegaze band strays from the typical dazed feel of droning distortion it has generated in past albums, including Saturday = Youth and Before the Dawn Heals Us. Instead, the instrumentals are post-apocalyptic, with an illustriously thumping drum, catchy synth harmony, chimerical keyboard and astonishing vocals that excite and captivate listeners.

“The Intro,” featuring Nika Roza Danilova of Zola Jesus, sets the mood with a steady reverb at the beginning while Danilova’s dreamy whispers trickle in. It soon makes its way to a more complex arrangement, spelling out a sense of hopefulness which audiences can easily revel in, taking shelter through the duet’s vocals.

Gonzalez raises the stakes and showcases his compelling voice like never before, contrary to his usual low pitch. The artist’s pitch is the ideal pairing with the commanding chorus and classic ’80s synth and keyboard that has quickly made a comeback in recent alternative pop.

There are moments when the album appears to lack cohesion, such as during the song, “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire.” A child recites a monologue with a background of playful musicality, which could seem slightly arbitrary. Lyrically though, the song makes sense and is a good representation of Gonzalez’s overall message: “We can be a whole group of friends ... we would be hundreds, thousands, millions,” the child says in a lighthearted tone.

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming aspires to take the listener through a journey. Not all songs on the album are as upbeat as the hit summer single, “Midnight City.” Gonzalez cleverly slows his pace to offer audiences a range of emotions. “Soon, My Friend,” the 11th track on the album, has a more heartfelt guitar that emphasizes the lyrics (“I’ll be yours someday”).

The band is named after barred spiral galaxy Messier 83, which is a band of bright stars emerging from the center of the galaxy. If Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming could be put in terms of astronomy, this is essentially what the album sounds like: a celebration of galactic proportions. As a whole, the album is strong and stellar, at times diverging from M83’s usual sound but remaining true to its aesthetic.

Midnight City by M83