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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
M83
Before the Dawn Heals Us
Gooom Disques/Mute Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


February 4, 2005
M83's breathtaking 2003 release, Dead Cities,Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, was hailed as the album destined to fill the void left by the post-Loveless demise of My Bloody Valentine. It created similar dramatic effects, utilising contemporary electronica with the revival of long-forgotten techno beats and sequences, albeit retaining an inherent French-ness about it. Dead Cities boasts few complexities, yet has the capacity to surround the listener in a melancholic embrace of digital noise. It is spectacular to say the very least.

Dead Cities was always going to be a difficult release to follow up. Anthony Gonzalez took the challenge of Before the Dawn Heals Us upon himself, following the departure of Nicolas Fromageau from M83.

Subsequently, Before the Dawn Heals Us comes across as self-assured and more certain of its own direction than Dead Cities ever did. Gonzalez appears to have adopted stronger elements of pop, with prominent vocals and, for the most part, live drums, building upon lush symphonic foundations to create songs of greater distinction and varied character. Before the Dawn Heals Us has a definite structure to it, and could therefore be interpreted as a rock album played through synthesisers.

Opening track, "Moonchild," layers synth on synth - creating a swirling cloud of sound that eventually diminishes and gives way for the post-futuristic blast of "Don't Save Us From the Flames", which, if its wasn't for its precise structure and rigidity, could be stripped down to pure ambience. M83's innocence is demonstrated in "Farewell/Goodbye", whereby male/female vocals accompany a simple keyboard pattern note-for-note, and M83 reach a peak of endearing simplicity.

However, part of Dead Cities' beauty resides in its directionless meandering. It appears almost trapped in its own bewilderment, dramatically expressing itself with all the honesty and magnificence that the humble listener could hope for. It conjures up all sorts of emotion and self-reflection, propelling itself beyond the realms of tunes and melodies, and into territory that reaches far deeper, aspiring to be at one with the listener.

Before the Dawn Heals Us has discovered a new tangent, and launches itself in numerous directions. The differences are effective and, although subtle, collectively manage to generate a more diverse atmosphere. Its lulls in intensity, unlike on Dead Cities, are more than few and far between. It may be too early in M83's musical career to predict a transformation, but artists progress naturally, albeit in gradual steps, and Before the Dawn Heals Us may prove to be an insight into future M83 meanderings. Whether Gonzalez proceeds to strip M83 of its intensity or knock it up a level remains to be seen, but if the last two albums are anything to go by, M83 will continue to break hearts worldwide.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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