Sex sells. So do dreams. On French-electro knobbest Anthony Gonzalez’s sixth effort as M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, the moments between orgasmic synth crescendos and track pauses are few and far between. It’d be a different story if this were a 10-track mission, but Gonzalez shoots for the moon, here, and the stars, beaming his promise of a “very, very, very epic” new record on this 22-track spacial beast of a double-album framed around an insatiable chase to just keep dreaming.
So goes the life of a dreamer, arguably so—and most of the time Gonzalez hits his targets. The first half’s lead-off combo tracks, “Intro” and “Midnight City” are daring new vocal strides compared to some of the muddled chill-wave digital-drum veils he pulled on “Saturdays = Youth“.
He’s never been much of a scribe, though; therein lies some of the holes in this epic fantasy he’s created. “Steve McQueen” may numb your hips with a shower of glistening synth and breakbeat soul—like some blessed-out dancefloor baby of the Cocteau Twins and the Boredoms—but Gonzalez sullies it with one-dimensional cheese:
My sensations reach the limit
Nothing can hurt me today
Or take “Claudia Lewis,” another galactic-sourced space jam with the record’s funkiest bass moment and a a big-bang roll of supremely satisfying reverbed drum kicks. Perfect for the turntable, awful on a record sleeve:
I’m lost in an infinite night trip
The sun could make me blind
I wish I could bring a girl to my ship
And fly her hand in mine
On the other hand, “Raconte-Moi Une Historie” is pretty charming with its organic build of fingersnaps and an 8-bit key medley layered over a child’s reading of a poem about a frog paired with the wide-eyed innocence and wonder that we all envy:
I heard about this frog
It’s a very tiny frog
But it’s also very special
You can only find it in the jungle
So far away from me
But if you find it and if you touch it
Your world can change forever
Taken as an allegory for the record’s sonic grandiosity, this reminds us to take Gonzalez’s go-big-or-go-home attitude with a grain of salt—or rather, with a lack thereof. For all its plainspoken front bones, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is still a lurid mixed bag of a sound larger than the sum of its parts. In other words, go on and keep dreaming, Gonzalez. We’re listening.
Some love and hate from the blogosphere:
“It’s a through line that carries straight to the appropriately named “Outro”—where Gonzalez finishes off the album in the same spirit he opened it—surrounded by an oversized blaze of electro glory. A remarkable accomplishment” (via Under The Radar).
“More pop is usually A Good Thing in my book. But here the impulse is more towards the portentous, Fairlight-raddled, heart-on-sleeve vacuity of mainstream Eighties transatlantic rock-lite than the soaring-indie stylings of Saturdays… or the more songlike portions of its predecessors, and I’m afraid it mostly leaves me froid” (via Drowned In Sound).
“It’s a tribute to the music of Gonzalez’ youth that still sounds fresh and vital in ways that its own inspirations never did. It’s a celebration of that same youth and that state of mind, a wide-eyed look at what could be. Most of all, it’s Gonzalez’s imagination run wild, and in that respect, it is a colossal achievement” (via Sputnikmusic).