Review: Jack Foley
BEFORE The Dawn Heals Us marks the third album from
M83, essentially the brainchild of Anthony Gonzalez, a resident
of Antibes, France.
Like its two predecessors – the eponymous debut and its
follow-up, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts –
it's a huge and epic attempt to use music to transport its audience
well beyond their immediate environment.
Yet, sadly, it's an attempt that largely fails, save for some
According to its PR, the album is supposed to 'evoke a sense
of freedom that can usually only be found in drugs, sex or –
for the more pure – meditation'.
But more commonly, the album hammers away at your sub-conscious
threatening to induce a headache.
I have listened to it on several occasions and every time found
myself wanting to reach for the off button, such is the intensity
it reaches, particularly when played loud.
M83 belong among the wave of bands that followed Mogwai and have
been growing increasingly more ambitious with each long-player.
Hence, Before The Dawn Wakes us follows the M83 template and
magnifies it tenfold, emerging unconstrained by the technological
shortcomings that previously held the band back.
For the first time, therefore, as much of the music was recorded
live by Anthony and a variety of other
musicians as was programmed and vocals play a considerably more
significant part than on previous outings.
When it works well, it is as uplifting and satisfying as the
PR suggests, most notably during the strong opening track, Moonchild,
which expertly mixes the soaring vocals with piano, guitars and
keyboards. Played loud, the track can be quite enchanting.
But it's quickly downhill from there; a soundtrack to nothing
that annoys more than it delights.
The PR would have you believe that, at times, the ghost of Brian
Eno drifts by, while at others one is reminded of Vangelis’
memorable Blade Runner soundtrack.
Yet as true as this may be on occasion, there is simply not
enough of it to render the album anything more than annoying and
2. Don't Save Us From The Flames
3. In The Cold I'm Standing
4. Farewell / Goodbye
5. Fields, Shorelines And Hunters
6. I Guess I'm Floating
7. Teen Angst
8. Can't Stop
10. Let Men Burn Stars
11. Car Chase Terror!
12. Slight Night Shiver
13. A Guitar And A Heart
14. Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The S