Combining elements of My Bloody Valentine, Mogwai, Air, Sigur Ros & Tangerine Dream, France's M83 has a distinct sound that's modern, melancholic and mesmerizing. Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts is one of the most striking records you'll hear this year. Available on 2 CD (includes exclusive bonus disc) and 2LP. Debut US tour this September!
Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts is the second album from French electronica duo M83 (Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau) who, thankfully, derive their name from a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Hydra and not from an interminably lackluster stretch of noxious British motorway. The name certainly nods to where their wide-eyed, spaced-out technicolor imaginations are fixed, but they also know how to sound ponderously intense--hence the cold, cello-aided sonority of "Gone," possibly the only track on the album that defies the lambent warmth of the purring analog synths and beguiling reveries that make the rest of the album as enticingly therapeutic as a thermal spa.
Humane post-rock is clearly M83's strongest attribute because both "Run into Flowers" and "On a White Lake, Near a Green Mountain" are curiously pretty cameos, far removed from the automatic anemia of other workmanlike button-pushers. The high point, though, is the symphonic sweetness and motherly female choral vocals of "Beauties Can Die," which is rather like being cradled in the arms of an angel, or at the very least the arms of Sigur Ros and Lesley Garrett. If one really has to die and go to heaven, one rather hopes the journey up there will sound like this. --Kevin Maidment