The French are good at many things. Food. Art. Aquatic nuclear shenanigans.
But despite being one of the cultural centers of Europe, France never seems to have really mastered music. Perhaps its my brutish Britannic ignorance, but I struggle to name many decent French bands. Air are good. Ive heard some decent French hip-hop. And then theres M83.
Manned and operated by Anthony Gonzalez, the previous albums have consisted of an intriguing blend of shoegaze and synthpop that brought the best of both worlds. While Saturdays=Youth doesnt stray a million miles away from that blueprint, theres something definitively unique about this recording. The shoegaze elements have been dialed back a bit and the vocals are more consistent throughout. Its somehow more sparkling, more ethereal than earlier work while being significantly more mainstream in its appeal. This is already on track to become M83s breakthrough release, and its not surprising at all.
An increase in the female backing vocals from Morgan Kibby has worked wonders, and its no coincidence that album highlight Skin of the Night is led by her. Theres flashes of drone on the likes of Couleurs and flowing pop majesty on Graveyard Girl and Kim And Jessie. Within the boundaries of the album sounds flow into one, which would be a bit of a limitation were it not for the fact that the album itself is breaking the mold somewhat.
It is consciously - I hope - quite self-involved and perhaps a little bit twee, but when the lush wash of glorious synthwork and fuzz is this absorbing you can forget yourself in amongst it all.
Slowdive, Isobella, Astrobrite, Ulrich Schnauss
9.0 / 10
I don't know why I used to assume that following up an amazing album is hard to pull off. Listening to this release, you wouldn't think that at all. M83's ...
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