Disappointing third album
M83′s ‘Before the Dawn Heals Us’ is an absurdly OTT space opera, pushing both the kitsch and the sonic noisescapes to 11. Now shorn of one member, M83 is now only Anthony Gonzalez, with lyrics apparently written by his brother as a soundtrack to an unmade film (yawn). Whereas the awesome ‘Dead Cities…’ let the music do most of the talking, arguably with at least one massive crescendo too many, ‘Before the Dawn Heals Us’ is marred by the same ‘Franglais’ prog pretensions as the last two Air Records. Where it succeeds over those albums however, is through the disarming overdrives of retro synth and melody that captured our attention on ‘Dead Cities’ and a few moments of pop perfection. It starts with the cringe-making ‘Moonchild’, which comes on like a Lemon-Jelly-esque spoken-word sample (but evidently written and performed especially) of some Sci-Fi nonsense about a little boy who created the moon. Moving swiftly on, ‘Don’t Save Us From The Flames’ is a gorgeous slice of futurist pop that kicks anything on ‘Talkie Walkie’ well into touch. ‘In the Cold I’m Standing’ is moody ambient, while ‘Farewell / Goodbye’ is more ponderous prog on the wrong side of cheesy. Then there is a sagging mid-section trio of 2 minute doodles that sound like incidental music for (yawn again) a science fiction film. ‘Teen Angst’ kicks in with much more purpose, another MBV/Slowdive psychedelic pop anthem, followed by ‘Safe’, which sounds like the Hamlet cigar advert piano refrain remixed by Vangelis (in a good way). ‘Car Chase Terror’ is fitted with pseudo B-Movie dialogue of a frightened woman being ‘chased’ but is not scary at all and really quite silly. The amusingly titled ‘A Guitar and a Heart’ is a kind of cross-breed Hawkwind / Osric Tentacles cock-rocking finale that is as enjoyable as it is dumb. M83 were never one for subtleties, and although there is much to enjoy here, there is also much that is embarrassingly bad.