M83: “Fantasy” Album Review – Mastery of Mood Returns


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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Many musical moments fit into the contemporaries of childhood. M83’s music is no different. Be it the buoyancy of Saturdays=Youth or the escapdes of 2005’s Before The Dawn Heals Us, Gonzalez’s M83 projectile of melancholy and memories have flourished an artist most influential in the 2010’s, certainly with his immeasurable Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, a sentinel soundtrack awash in a pursuit for something indescribable on the high tides.

We’ve spoken about the majesty of HU, WD on here before, where the comparison was made to an album of sheer perfection, time-locked within the free-spirited adolescence of childhood. Now, we see him still trying to recapture the childhood’s pangs of wonderment on his ninth, Fantasy. A feeling we can all equally relate with, sure. But you would have placed his lack of transparency to link memories together down as a cerebral issue but nevertheless, Gonzalez is back trying to join up the dots of his own youthful drama.

To the age of wonder!

Aptly named Fantasy, it’s exactly that. A disfigurement of wonder very dissimilar to real life of our own, as we see dream fragments of Gonzales running away from something he can’t ever run away from. Be it a fleeing to a moon hill or ascending the “sky ladder” like we hear on Us And The Rest, it’s still an lush landscape of a longness to keep dreaming and a hesitance to wake up. Because then we’d be subjugated to real life, right?

Oceans Niagra, arguably the albums’ high-rising songs, boasts “Beyond Adventure!,” a telling beyond anything we can possibly imagine as to what an adventure may be.

The blending of hazy synth-pop and shoegaze sad-indie, has brought about an album of oscillating synths, sound-waves and rising electronics that we’ve become all too similar with M83‘s work. But there only seems to be so many synthesizers I can listen to before I start feeling dizzy. While Radar, Far, Gone is an acoustic alternative equipped for an ethereal ascendance into the stars, Deceiver feels like a drone jamboree lost in translation, as we constantly orbit the same lonely rock, with no definitive conclusion in sight.

You can argue then, that Fantasy can be disfigured at times, a waning of sounds that never seem to stop. A feeling not too dissimilar to the lore behind the album, in fact, as the elongating build-ups almost adds to the apprehension within dreams themselves: moments of overwhelming bliss. While Gonzales’ work ethic may have changed after the efforts HUWD‘s commercialism, Fantasy comes with the freedom to simply turn jams into an album, a coming-together of guitar and synths, “without the pressure of selling records.” Because we all know Gonzalez can, he just doesn’t want to.

The self-titled up next offers a more funky discordance with pan-pipes and lightning claps that are very much clawed out of an 8-bit soundtrack, while levitating Laura has the push-and-push of iconic vocals from both M83 and Morgan Kibby all the while a synth drone saunters in the background.

M83, an individual fascinated by memories old and languished, is the master of solitude.

The new offering may not be brimming on the peak of Grammy-nominated Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – as it visited the less fashionable corners of vintage pop culture – but Fantasy still conjures up feelings of sentimental value, wrapped up in a cordial dressing of sad-synth indie.

Do you miss the day of human revolution? //

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming REVIEW

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