on 9 April 2009
It is maybe because I am of a similar age to M83's Anthony Gonzalez that the themes and aesthetics of 'Saturday = Youth' resonate so strongly. This album is drenched with 80's inspiration and takes its atmospheric cues from the likes of Cocteau Twins, the post punk band The Chameleons (give their second album 'What Does Anything Mean? Basically' a listen - the opener 'Silence, Sea & Sky' in particular could have been plucked straight from an M83 album) as well as an obvious nod to 'Hounds of Love' era Kate Bush.
In some respects, the album is comparable to the work of Boards of Canada. That is not to say that M83's compositions resemble the mood or sonic palette of BoC particularly ('Music Has the Right to Children' was menacing and claustrophobic, 'Saturdays = Youth' is light and airy), it is more the sense of delicious nostalgia that each act expertly taps into.
There is a shamelessly heartfelt sincerity to these tracks, which is extremely refreshing given the number of bands that are currently adopting an 80's influenced sound but are far too self aware and engrossed in cool posturing to cut loose and have fun with it.
The whole album is an absolute delight, but a special mention for 'You, Appearing', 'Kim & Jessie', 'We Own the Sky' and 'Dark Moves of Love'.
on 19 March 2008
This fourth M83 LP takes on where the previous "Before The Dawn..." left off, but an even larger room was made this time for ethereal vocals, whether male or female. From the startling opening "You, Appearing", you know you're in for something special; the subtle trickery of previous works is here, but serves the purpose in a much more soulful (dare I say "human") way.
Tracks such as "Kim & Jessie" (which could provide a nice indie-pop summer hit) or "Up!" sound like how the last (brilliant ortherwise) Goldfrapp LP could have been up to if they had kept their electronic craft, while "Dark Moves Of Love" is the epitome of shoegazing albeit turned to 11 (like the Cocteau Twins jamming with Mercury Rev, if you see what I mean). But the key track here, still, is the forthcoming single, "Couleurs", which, with his obsessive rhythm construction and guitar/keyboards collusive maelstrom, will take you to another level of hypnose and excitement, to heights rarely reached by electronic acts.
A few 80's tricks in the arrangements can't even distract from the fact "Saturdays=Youth" (not such a cryptic title, if you think) is pop as what it always should be; sing-a-long melodies and innovative soundscapes everywhere.
on 14 October 2011
Been listening to this album for a little while now, it's well packaged, has the lyrics on the inner sleeve, sounds good makes me wonder what My Bloody Valentine (surely the world's laziest band) would have done if they were still making music, something similar to this? Anyway M83 have their own sound and this is a steal at the price.
on 2 May 2009
Buy this Album- its stunning and beautiful summerish and summer rainish ,this is in my top 5 fav's, M83's ambience is magickal and encapsulating, its more of a day time into evening listen compared to the darker themes explored in 'Before the dawn heals us'
Stylish/sexy/sleek and sure to be timeless.
the art work is woweeee
M83's music has always been very airy, synthy and vaguely abstract in nature. Very post-rock, very spacey electronica, but not pretentiously so.
But M83 takes a step in another direction "Saturdays = Youth" -- instead we get a tongue-in-cheek, vaguely nostaltic expanse of 80s-style teenage angst. There are some jarringly angular moments, but Anthony Gonzalez mostly turns out a pretty, electro-riddled little experience swathed in shoegazer instrumentals and pop melodies.
It opens with a very gentle little piano melody, hesitating as if unsure what to play, and is joined by flickers of ephemeral synth. "It's your face," a woman's breathless voice sings, as a man murmurs gentle in the shimmering wash. The entire thing keeps swirling in on itself like a forming tropical storm, growing more ethereal and incomprehensible by the second.
Now drop all expectations of what this album will be like.
"Kim and Jessie" is a vaguely New Orderish synthpop melody with lots of thudding beats and wailing synth loops. And most of the songs hover in the middle -- rollicking blurry guitarpop, swirling shimmering dance, urgent electronica, spacey balladry dripping with dance rhythms, shoegazer epics that build up to a mountainous climax, and ethereal pianopop smothered in cloudy synth. The finale is a continuous, ten-minute ambient hum that frankly bored me silly.
But it takes until the deliciously tongue-in-cheek "Graveyard Girl" for the intent of this to become clear -- it's a wistful, mocking soundtrack of teenage angst and moodiness. The very serious line ""I'm fifteen years old and I feel it's already too late to live. Don't you?" is deliciously ironic.
Technically it's usually a very bad idea when you fix something that wasn't broke, and Gonzalez appears to be doing that when he revisit the musics and teen movies of the 80s. As a result -- since he does not wholly abandon the spacey electronic/shoegazer sound -- "Saturdays = Youth" is a mesh of different styles, and there are moments where the fusion doesn't work.
But it's quite striking that so many of these songs DO blend together well. We have colourful loops, swirling shimmers, cloudy enveloping waves, and little blips of synth, studded with sharper synth beats. This is all woven togetjer with a lot of gentle piano, and some jangly pop guitar interspersed among the buzzing cycling shoegazer guitar.
Unlike before, vocals take front-and-center positions here -- Gonzalez's soft, processed voice glides through. And Morgan Kibby's high, breathless vocals can add anything from gruesome pathos ("She digs her nails into her naked chest... she pulls back the skin to show her ribs/they twinkle like shooting stars") to the tongue-in-cheek monologue from "Graveyard Girl" ("The cemetery is my home/I want to be a part of it/invisible, even to the night/I will read poetry to the stones/wonder if one day I become one of them").
It takes awhile to really clue in on what M83's intent in "Saturdays = Youth" is, but the band's album is a pretty good fusion of synthpop and shoegazer.
Talk talk, Human League, Soft Cell, Tubeway Army and OK more up to date Air. They are all in here and you won't listen to a more catchy and wistful album all year. However by the end you may well have had enough so lose astar for that, but I hate to say it this could be equally well received at a thirteen year old girl's birthday party or at a middle aged dinner party.