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M83 - Before The Dawn Heals Us


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 virtuoso moments.

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 borderline pretentious.



Track listing:
1. Moonchild
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
9. Safe
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


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