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VINE VOICEon 22 February 2005
It's got a fantastic cover. (Few things are more beautiful than City scapes at night) and sounds alternately like Pink Floyd, God speed You Black Emperor, Sigur Ros, State of Grace and most intriguingly like the instrumental between tracks on This Mortal Coil albums. It's music scrambling to attain a higher level of meaning or existence just through the sheer beauty of its sound. So yes, it's all those critical clichés encapsulated onto one album. It's lush, ethereal cinematic, but most importantly some of the songs are simply stunning in their wide screen intensity, effortlessly attaining a level of corporeal vigour or humane tenderness using the mainly electronic instrumentation.
This is effectively a solo work, Anthony Gonzalez having split from his long time collaborator and friend Nicholas Fromageu, but rather than forcing him to curb his ambitions and look within it seems to have expanded his horizons and now it seems he's stretching as far as he can, trying to lay his hands on all those vistas in his head. Employing choirs, muscular live drum tracks, huge banks of swirling guitars and interweaving between pure instrumentals and vocal pieces some of this music is Wagnerian in its scope and apocalyptic ambience. The multi tracked vocals on opening track "Moon Child" recall Vast,s audacious use of samples while "Don't Save us From the Flames" has a thrilling propulsive grace allied to it's banks of keening vocals. "In the Cold I'm Standing" sounds quasi religious with its colossal swathes of organ uncoiling like tentacles. "I'll write my love on a thousand weeping willows" sings the breathy vocalist on "Farewell/Goodbye" a ballad of such fervent ardour it seems to infuse the air with misty tears. The rather unfortunately titled "Teen Angst" skyscrapes away from it's opening shuddering synth lines on tectonic plates of white hot noise while "Can't Stop" sounds like it's sung by Jon Anderson high octave tones and in truth is rather repetitive( Apparently he can't stop saying I can't stop). "Safe" is like an outtake from "The Wall" with it's simple two note piano refrain but morphs into the lower stratosphere with its lambent keyboards. "Car Chase Terror" uses actress Kate Moran to narrate a tale of automotive induced horror and is a touch cheesy but there is no denying the power of the gargantuan towering guitars that kick in.
One or two tracks do doodle rather aimlessly by and there are some overly sleek and functional barnstorming guitar /drum driven instrumentals of which "A Guitar and a Heart" is easily the best but the last track "Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun" is an epic amalgamation of Gaudi Cathedrals of keyboard sound, multi layered choral vocals and drums ushering in the Queen of Sheeba. It's a soundtrack waiting for a movie.
Some will label this album pompous and overbearing and it is, but it's also capable of creating a glowing shroud of sound amidst a milky way of emotion. I can understand why the City scape on the cover because with Before the Dawn Can Heal Us Gonzalez has created gaudy neon lit wondrous edifice of his own. And that s stunningly beautiful too.
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on 8 February 2005
When I saw the impending release date of this album, I knew I had to have it after having enjoyed 'Dead Cities,... etc' so thoroughly. I was hoping for more of the same sweeping, simple dance and electro-rock cross-overs that it had on it, for example the flawless 'America.'
Upon placing this into my CD player, I have to admit, I was a little shocked. The album starts with 'Moonchild,' a simple distorted piano and vocal sample track that was ever-so different to the sounds of the first. When this was followed up by the single 'Don't Save Us From the Flames,' I felt my fears were almost confirmed. It's fundamentally a pop song albeit one of the most original pop songs I've ever heard as it mixes the creativity and originality that seems common to all good french artists with the freshness of electro-rock.
But I persevered and I'm glad I did. Any of the tracks on their own may have left me dubious but as a whole this album is almost an electro-opera, ranging from the Kevin Shields style 'I guess I'm floating,' to the fantastic 'Car Chase Terror' which never fails to make all my hair stand on end. This album shares that quality that made their second album so note-worthy.
With this release, M83 show us that it is possible to combine frenetic energy with scouring emotion in the same track without ever needing to compromise their own intrinsic style.
I can already say that this is going to be up there in my top five albums of 2005. Don't leave it out of your music collection.
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on 9 July 2009
An amazing album. A Boards of Canada meets indie guitars.. Some beautiful soundscapes and some good rock outs too. A beautiful album
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on 4 March 2015
Very good, but a bit melancholy, not their best, but not their worst either. Still work getting though if you are a fan.
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on 9 March 2016
Iam new to their music and it was most enjoyable
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on 13 June 2016
A beautiful album is all I can say.
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on 8 June 2005
France has certainly awarded us with some of the most talented musicians in the last few decades. Like Jean-Michel Jarre and Air, M83 bring to the broad-minded audience that we most probably are, another enchantingly and often mystifying masterpiece. This album could quite easily be a Continuation from the previous album, as if Anthony and Nicolas (the two founding members) decided they had used every last ounce of their emotions up and rested until two years later to see if it has been restored. But Nicolas doesnt really want to go through it all again, so Anthony Gonzalez is quite happy to take the lead on his own. And this is what the album seems to say - that Anthony appears to like this emotional rollercoaster and finds it so captivating that he is prepared to share it with us. I suppose the question is, are you ready to delve into the small, enticing jar, that just so happens to be labelled 'M83', and discover that it isn't such a small jar after all, but another world that lays way beyond the stars of emotion and the planets of anger, sadness and sorrow.
However, the album only received four stars from me because of the broken and interrupted bursts of powerful anger that Anthony can also embody as well as his love and compassion, and this anger comes in the form of songs such as "Fields, Shorelines and Hunters" & "*". But the album is in no way let down by these songs and by the time "Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The Sun" is brining the long journey to an inspirational and incredibly uplifting finale, you can only think that the epic voyage has been well worth it.
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on 30 May 2016
Excellent condition, Thanks! I bought it because of the track played on an episode of Top Gear (Moonchild) !!
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on 8 February 2005
M83's 'Before the Dawn Heals Us' is an absurdly OTT space opera, pushing both the kitsch and the sonic noisescapes to 11. Now shorn of one member, M83 is now only Anthony Gonzalez, with lyrics apparently written by his brother as a soundtrack to an unmade film (yawn). Whereas the awesome 'Dead Cities...' let the music do most of the talking, arguably with at least one massive crescendo too many, 'Before the Dawn Heals Us' is marred by the same 'Franglais' prog pretensions as the last two Air Records. Where it succeeds over those albums however, is through the disarming overdrives of retro synth and melody that captured our attention on 'Dead Cities' and a few moments of pop perfection. It starts with the cringe-making 'Moonchild', which comes on like a Lemon-Jelly-esque spoken-word sample (but evidently written and performed especially) of some Sci-Fi nonsense about a little boy who created the moon. Moving swiftly on, 'Don't Save Us From The Flames' is a gorgeous slice of futurist pop that kicks anything on 'Talkie Walkie' well into touch. 'In the Cold I'm Standing' is moody ambient, while 'Farewell / Goodbye' is more ponderous prog on the wrong side of cheesy. Then there is a sagging mid-section trio of 2 minute doodles that sound like incidental music for (yawn again) a science fiction film. 'Teen Angst' kicks in with much more purpose, another MBV/Slowdive psychedelic pop anthem, followed by 'Safe', which sounds like the Hamlet cigar advert piano refrain remixed by Vangelis (in a good way). 'Car Chase Terror' is fitted with pseudo B-Movie dialogue of a frightened woman being 'chased' but is not scary at all and really quite silly. The amusingly titled 'A Guitar and a Heart' is a kind of cross-breed Hawkwind / Osric Tentacles cock-rocking finale that is as enjoyable as it is dumb. M83 were never one for subtleties, and although there is much to enjoy here, there is also much that is embarrassingly bad.
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on 6 October 2014
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