One Step Closer
While a lot of musicians try to make the synthesizer sound light, airy, and warm, French shoegaze/space rock outfit M83 does the complete opposite. Throughout their third release, Before the Dawn Heals Us, buzzing synthesizers bleed through the speaker, and strangle the listener with cataclysmic, pain-inflicting tones. Woozy vocals, epic choral arrangements, and crisp drum programming flesh out the nightmare-laced extravaganza.
In disturbing fashion, something that M83 excels at, the listener is immediately engulfed in a world filled with horror, sadness, and uncertainty. The record’s second track and first single, “Don’t Save Us From the Flames,” picks up where the previous record left off by recalling the lush vocals and apocalyptic instrumentation of Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts’ “Run Into Flowers.” Set against a skipping synth, the words “Out of the flames, a piece of brain in my hair/The wheels are melted, a ghost is screaming your name” captures the essence of the madness and panic that will soon follow on tracks like “*” and “Car Chase Terror!”
Unlike their previous outing, the band’s use of vocals is more prominent. Songs like “Farewell/Goodbye” and “Teen Angst” employ ghostly voices and angelic harmonies in order to balance out poignant instrumental tracks like “I Guess I’m Floating.”
It would be easy to compare M83 to the likes of Brian Eno or Meddle-era Pink Floyd, but that would be unfair to the band and to this record. After just a few listens to this image-laden soundtrack of terror, one can hear a band who has carved out their own niche, and may be one step closer to creating their masterpiece.