Music » Music Stories & Interviews

Double fantasy

French electronic act M83 releases his magnum opus




with Active Child
8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2 The Beacham,
Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

It’s been a long wait since M83’s justifiably celebrated 2008 album Saturdays=Youth, but Los Angeles-based Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez is back with a huge work that justifies the anticipation. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is a double-album helping of his already famously lush and high-flying ’80s electronic revisionism. First, there’s a pronounced new vocal presence, with appearances by Zola Jesus and Saturdays=Youth collaborator Morgan Kibby. But the most inspired and salient presence is Gonzalez’s own evolving voice, which is versatile, lovely and utterly current. Second, though M83’s signature electro-symphonic approach still dominates, the style palette goes beyond synthgaze and takes advantage of the expanded format to show its wider prism here. But despite these advancements, the core virtue that remains gloriously unchanged is the breathtakingly epic scale. And M83 is still best when the heights are dizzying and the vistas span the dawn horizon.

Classic retro-futuristic M83 anthems like “Midnight City,” “Claudia Lewis,” “Steve McQueen,” “OK Pal” and “Echoes of Mine” buff ’80s electronic sleekness to a new, essential luster. Of the songs with a more prominent rock aspect, the best include “Reunion,” “New Map,” “This Bright Flash” and the heartbreakingly grand “Outro.” And going all-out orchestral in less than three minutes is the stunning “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea.” But even though it’s the album’s most unusually patient, spacious and organic composition with acoustic and slide guitars, the majestic “Wait” is perhaps the loveliest and eventually opens wide enough to swallow the galaxy.

For a double album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is remarkably cohesive and generously stocked. There are some ambient pieces peppered in (the best being the planetarium drama of “Another Wave From You”), but the sprawling collection has surprisingly little fat. And despite their massive scope, the songs remain concise, never exceeding the five-minute vicinity. The result is a magnum opus that’s never tedious, often powerful and always invigorating. And it’s proof that M83 is crafting some of the most luxe and enveloping pop music today.

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