There's something very, very wrong here. The U.S. release of M83's second album, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, was one of the musical highlights of 2004: Its blend of shoegazing miasma, Francophonic fuzziness and sheer majesty pointed to a promising career for M83's Anthony Gonzalez. Things are different now. Before the Dawn Heals Us is an album rooted in pop/rock formalities and, as a result, only the aggressive, pulsating guitar of "*" and the 10-minute sprawl of "Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun" soar to the same dizzying heights of splendor as Dead Cities. The rest of the album alternates between self-conscious puffery ("Farewell/ Goodbye," "Safe"), ditzy melodic overdoses ("Can't Stop") and songless bits of atmospheric inconsequentiality ("Car Chase Terror!"). Before the Dawn is far from a horrible or even mediocre album; it's just disappointing. If this were M83's debut, it's likely that it would meet with solid praise; but following an album as mind-blowing as Dead Cities, it's disappointing.
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