A French band that sings in English? Is that legal in France any more? Well, M82 get away with it, and quite nicely too. The genre is what they call ‘shoegazing’, a brand of electropop that lies somewhere between Jean Michel Jarre and Depeche Mode, and throws the Smashing Pumpkins into the mix for good measure. At least that’s one way of describing this very unique band. The French have always been unique…
It involves lots of freaky electro keyboard type noises, often more for chilling out than freaking out, where the voice is more of a soft instrument adding to the effect than vocals in the usual sense, the sort of stuff that goes on in the background when you’re playing a Japanese video game, and then all of a sudden they bounce out of their daze and before you know it you’re listening to pretty much mainstream alternative rock. Graveyard girl, Kim & Jessie, Run into flowers… This band has produced some truly top notch material over the years, and Midnight City was one of the most talked about singles of 2011.
All in all, M83, led by Anthony Gonzalez, is quite some listening experience. It’s cool. Probably more appropriate for putting on your headphones on a Sunday evening and drifting away with the different levels in their music than for experiencing at Primavera Sound or Ibiza 123, but highly recommendable all the same.
M83 were barely known outside of their own snail-guzzling homeland before 2003, when the album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts wowed the critics. Since then they’ve supported the likes of Kings of Leon and The Killers – sign enough that this band is worth taking note of.
Their latest album, a double-album no less, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, was released last October, which Gonzalez says was “written like a soundtrack to an imaginary movie with different ambiances, different atmospheres, different tempos, different orchestrations and different instrumentation.” That might sound like pretentious bollocks, and let’s face it M83 are French, but what he’s saying is a pretty accurate description.
And there’s a none too subtle message in their newer material. It seems to be saying that M83 are on a mission to rebrand themselves as a band that instead of packing i-pods, is going to be packing football stadiums. And if their sold out gigs in Barcelona and Madrid in March are anything to go by, it might not be too long before that is happening. If there is any band that can make inroads into both the fields of indie pop and manufactured electronica, then that band is M83. Watch this space … this band is going to be huge.
Did you know: A lot of M83’s tracks have a space-type theme, which should be no surprise, for their name is taken from a spiral galaxy called Messier 83.
Friday March 9, 2012 Barcelona Sala Razzmatazz
Saturday March 10, 2012 Madrid Riviera
Saturday June 2, 2012 Barcelona Primavera Sound
2. Teen Angst
3. Kim & Jessie
6. Year One, One UFO
7. We Own The Sky
8. Steve McQueen
10. This Bright Flash
11. Claudia Lewis
12. Midnight City
13. Guitar & A Heart
Encore: 14. Skin