Monday, January 5, 2009

M83 - Saturdays=Youth

After hearing this album 6 or 7 times at my place of employment (a record store, big surprise, eh?), I was struck by how fresh and exciting this music was starting to sound despite its decidedly retro stance. Looking like a John Hughes film and sounding like something straight off a vintage Creation or 4AD Records releases, this albums deals out the tracks like from a pack of trading cards featuring classic eighties artists. You will hear all your favorite sounds from the warm and fuzzing likes of The Jesus & Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine; then you will be cast off your course by a deep space siren with the introspective warmth of Kate Bush (track six even has the phrase “hounds of love” in the lyrics); and you even be given a few shots of serious dance floor justice, especially on track five which reminds me of a Derrick May/Rhythm is Rhythm production.
There are a lot of retro 80s bands cropping up these days and I have a tendency to ignore all of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have fond musical memories of growing up in the 80s (Peter Gabriel, Eurhythmics, Tears for Fears, Soft Cell, Michael Jackson, etc); but it seems very easy to dismiss outright hipster attempts to cash in on sounds and ideas that were popular over 20 years ago. After this album had properly soaked into my brain, I started to notice a couple songs that seemed to really stand out as being original. I don’t know if it is just coincidence, but it seems to be the songs that feature both male and female vocals, like “We own the sky” and “Too late.” It is with these songs that M83 seems to have distilled a perfect mixture of all their influences into something both modern and timeless.
Perhaps it is just the updated and increasingly deep layers of modern production that have helped M83 to avoid sounding like just some shallow tribute band, or maybe they have really accomplished what they set out to achieve in creating this album. Upon repeated listening, each song seems to have something uniquely compelling about it. Not sure if it will have much lasting impact on me, but where better than a blog like Mercurial Dose to write about something that could potentially be anything from a stone classic to nothing more than the flavor of the day? Either way, it’s been a really fun day holding hands at the roller rink.

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