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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the M83 website  M83 - DeadCities, RedSeas and LostGhosts [Gooom / Labels - 2003]

This galaxy is sometimes called the "Southern Pinwheel". It forms a small physical group with the peculiar radio galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128) and the unusual galaxy NGC 5253 in Centaurus. R. Brent Tully also lists the following smaller and fainter presumable (or possible) members of this group: NGC 4945, NGC 5102, NGC 5164, NGC 5408, ESO 381-20 (MCG-6-28-017; 1243-33), ESO 324-24 (MCG-6-30-003; 1324-41), ESO 444-84 (MCG-5-32-000; 1334-27), ESO 325-11 (1342-41), and ESO 383-87 (MCG-6-30-025; 1346-35).

A friend of mine brought M83 to my attention a few months ago saying it was some excellent French post-rock band. I said “fuck off, who needs post-rock anymore... Besides, if it’s French, it’s crap” (this last comment coming from a pissed Belgian who likes to say he does not like Frenchmen  because it’s trendy, although he goes to France very often). Then I read a review on Pitchfork Media, giving to Dead cities, red seas and lost ghosts a superb 9.2/10. I said “fuck off, those bastards at Pitchfork gave 2.6/10 to one of my fav album ever. Besides they’re Americans, so it’s crap” ” (this last comment coming from a pissed European who likes to say he does not like the USA  because it’s trendy, although he likes war (or does he?) and read American novels mostly). For some weird reasons, I picked up the album anyway...

For some weirder reasons, I happen  to like it a lot... My mate told me they were post-rock, I heard that they had been put in the French-touch category (you know, crappy house music à la française, trying to invade your privacy by any means, be it telly, radio or your moronic neighbour trying to be cool with his Bob Sinclar tunes or even your indie moronic neighbour trying to be cooler with his Cassius tunes or your indie wannabe neighbour trying to be the absolute coolster of the area, watching Japanese anime while listening to the latest Daft Punk piece of dog poo). Please insert vomiting smilie here...

No, they ain’t post-rock, no they ain’t Daft Punk either. Sigh of relief... Anthony and Nicolas, the two blokes behind M83, probably played in noisy rock bands before forming their current outfit, since their music sounds like My Bloody Valentine plunged in an acid bath of Tangerine Dream-flavoured liquid. This should be painful but it is not. It is just highly enjoyable. Comparisons with contemporary bands are difficult. The closest would be Xinlisupreme (reviews here), the amazing, thrilling, punishing, mysterious and beautiful Japanese combo, in a much calmer and laid-back version. Maybe Air lies somewhere in there too (especially in the space vibe and the use of the synth). M83 sounds as if a “real” bass, guitar, drums band(what does it mean?)’s music had been processed through various filters on a couple of computers, while two boys-next-door were toying around with sophisticate-sounding keyboards. At the same time, one of the duo’s accomplice was busy strangling the singer of the rock band in the cellar, trying to let him know that it was in the best of his interest to give up his vocal duties to samples, computers, hahhhhhhh-hahhhhhhhh girls or the odd treated male voice. The singer reached an agreement with the strangler, but what choice had he?

Of course, Dead Cities... is not perfect. Its grandiloquence might sound corny at times. But this does not harm the qualities of the album. In their early 20’s, the members of M83 have got a bright future...

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

François Monti
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