I am slightly embarrassed by how much I like the new M83 album. I am not embarrassed to like M83 – heck, even Urban Outfitters have given them their own streaming spot online. What is embarrassing, though, is that it has relegated me to the kind of socially awkward idiot who pushes into conversations at parties to ramble about how great the squeaky hook on ‘Midnight City’ is, man. Unfortunately for everyone else around me, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is absolutely delightful. Anthony Gonzalez has outdone himself.
Doing any kind of a ‘concept’ album is a bit scary, especially if it splurges into double-disk territory: it suggests a lack of critical editing, not to mention self-control. What a relief, then, that this album, ‘mainly about dreams, how every one is different, how you dream differently’ manages to avoid pretension and is instead a (rather long) treat. Quite apart from its considerable length, this record is also very large. These are big sounds and big, even overwhelming, synths – music for people with big hair and even bigger shoulders; music to make you thrust your lighter into the air. On a side-note: it almost certainly isn’t worth a listen if the 80s make your toes curl.
An unexpected highlight is the charming ‘Raconte-Moi Une Histoire,’ a cutesy track about hallucinogenic frogs, narrated by a small child (which somehow manages to avoid being irritating). The album opens as it means to ‘carry on (carry on)’ with a swirling, shimmering track, ‘Intro’, that features excellent guest vocals from Zola Jesus. I won’t pretend that there are no dips in quality – Gonzalez has an unfortunate fondness for ambient shoegaze, and tracks like ‘Echoes Like Mine’ or ‘Soon My Friend’ do come across as a bit pointless. However – with the possible exception of the acoustically driven melody of ‘Splendor’ – this is excellent electropop, and, despite the odd sally into instrumental fillers, largely a very tight, focused album. To use a word from the appropriate era, with all its breathless connotations: it’s absolutely dreamy.