M83 | Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

Mute (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  October 12, 2011
3.5 3.5 Stars

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"City is my church!" sings Anthony Gonzalez, flustered and passionate, engulfed by the head-rush synths and galactic beats of his instant-classic "Midnight City." An ironic lyric, since the Frenchman's tunes, more than just about anyone else's, seem blueprinted to reverberate off the boundless walls of a distant Heaven. No city (or stadium) is huge enough to contain this guy's epic art-pop A-bombs — only the afterlife will do. Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is simply too much . . . everything. Too much atmosphere, too much ambition, too much euphoria. Listening to all 22 glorious tracks over two discs in spaced-out slumber-party succession is exhausting. The electro-gaze focus of 2008's Saturdays=Youth is all but jettisoned; here, sprawl is king. Instead of partner-in-crime Morgan Kibby, Gonzalez crafts with bassist/arranger Justin Meldal-Johnsen, and together, they reach into the Great Unknown, bringing along an array of new tones ('80s sax, ping-ponging acoustics) and lathering every inch with impeccable studio gloss. Meldal-Johnsen (who produced, co-wrote, and played multiple instruments) is Gonzalez's secret BFF audio ninja. On "Claudia Lewis," his nasty slap-bass percolates over mind-numbing Phil Collins–styled tom-tom fills: Miami Vice in the year 2100. The blinding "OK Pal," meanwhile, sports a crystalline two-note hook that sparkles like a thousand disco balls on the face of the sun. There's a loose narrative thread here involving the intersection of dreams and fading memories — and though the songs unfold as majestically as an IMAX photo album, some of the childlike splendor feels a bit forced. Did we really need the bouncy near-instrumental "Raconte-Moi Une Histoire," in which an adorable pre-schooler details the specifics of transforming into a frog? Probably not. But I can't recall the last time something so awkward sounded so life-affirming. In the M83 universe, emotion comes before logic, and for all 72 fascinating minutes, Gonzalez has you in the palm of his sweaty hand.

M83 | House Of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | November 20 @ 7 pm | all-ages | $18-$20 | 888.693.2583

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