M83 - Before The Dawn Heals Us
UK Release Date:

24 January 2005

Track Listing:

1. Moonchild
2. Don't Save Us From The Flames
3. In The Cold I'm Standing
4. Farewell/Goodbye
5. Fields, Shorelines and Hunters
6. *
7. I Guess I'm Floating
8. Teen Angst
9. Can't Stop
10. Safe
11. Let Men Burn Stars
12. Car Chase Terror!
13. Slight Night Shivern
14. A Guitar and a Heart
15. Lower Your Eyelids to Die With The Sun

M83 - Before The Dawn Heals Us (Gooom Disques)
•• Published: SoundsXP, February 2005
Original article: http://www.soundsxp.com/1586.shtml

Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez, produces music so pure, crisp and elatedly uplifting under his M83 guise that 'Before The Dawn Heals Us' sounds like an attempt to soundtrack the afterlife, that is if progressive rock ever made it through heaven's pearly gates. Opener 'Moonchild' sets the tone as sweeping theremin, buzzing bass guitar and dramatic drumming combine to produce the kind of track Pink Floyd would save for their end of show finale - instantly begging the question of what's left in reserve for the rest of the album.

The short answer is more of the same. Current single 'Don't Save Us From The Flames' may squeal by like a psychedelic Supergrass cover but the up-tempo numbers retain the same bright, ethereal sheen and ambitiously rich orchestration of the more sedate offerings. Almost entirely self-produced, Gonzalez's third album sounds at times like Air's dalliance with prog rock that was '10,000Hz Legend', but this kind of driving, largely instrumental, electro-rock is M83's stock in trade rather than a mere experimental flirtation. As a result, 'Before The Dawn Heals Us' has far more soul and successfully avoids being pretentiously contrived, unlike his fellow countrymen's brief excursion off their well-beaten chill-out track.

'Safe' starts off sounding like the old Hamlet Cigar ad tune (or JS Bach's 'Air on aG String' to any classical purists out there) before wistful vocals introduce the sort of grandiose synth operatics beloved of Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis. On the surface this is music perfect for firework displays, Gonzalez succumbing to the idea himself with the crackle and pop of fireworks as the track closes, but if you dig deeper some of these compositions have a strength and pure beauty far beyond mere dramatic background noise. Tracks like 'In The Cold I'm Standing', 'I Guess I'm Floating' and 'Slight Night Shivern' are designed purely with relaxation in mind and, if it were not for the thrashing drama of '*' and soft-rock flavoured 'A Guitar And A Heart', they would probably lull you into a deep, sweet slumber.

Slasher movie sampler 'Car Chase Terror!' ensures the sweetness and light is tempered with some darkness but 'Before The Dawn Heals Us' is at times so faultlessly flowery it verges on cheese, the sun-filled, falsetto-led 'Can't Stop' especially. Every track is so epic you often find yourself engulfed, but whether or not you appreciate music with that power will ultimately dictate your opinion of this release. It glides and soars to such an extent you may develop altitude sickness by the end of the album and you will certainly need a sweet tooth to stay the distance but if you appreciate chilled ambient euphoria and immense electronic rock symphonies this is perfect.

- Ian Roullier

Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014