Sunday, February 03, 2008

Can Anyone Top This? Best of 2008, So Far: M83

Last year's stopgap release for M83, the pleasant but inessential "Digital Shades Vol 1", reduced my expectations for the daftly-titled upcoming album "Saturdays = Youth". They'd been away for a couple of years, out of sight out of mind and all that etc., and a bunch of ambient noodlings only reduced anticipation for the official follow-up to "Before the Dawn Heals Us".

What me worry? New track "Couleurs" (stream link via Pitchfork) is superlative, a retro-dance throwback that instantly rendered Junior Boys to the irrelevance pile (as if they weren't already there); recalling everything from the swirling synth washes in New Order's "The Perfect Kiss" and the post-Summer of Love II headrush of Cabaret Voltaire's "Hypnotized". All of this should be far above and beyond what will be necessary to change the minds of dance music pluggers who dismissed M83 as nothing more than handy remix fodder for Superpitcher and Jackson (although seeing Ewan Pearson and Ken Thomas's names in the production credits might be convincing enough).

This should have been Flowchart's post-90's house-y direction. Instead, they dropped the ball and went for a classic-but-boring sound, dropping nearly all the kitchen sink variables that made late-90's Flowchart so unpredictable and beguiling. We had to wait another ten years for it, but finally, we have a near perfect house/shoegaze mindmeld, courtesy of this week's hero(es), M83.

No comments: