Local Wire

M83

The sun-bleached cover photo for Saturdays = Youth shows how much this band is consumed by nostalgia. M83's Anthony Gonzalez combines synths, treated guitar washes, and '80s drum sounds ("We Own the Sky" and "Graveyard Girl") on M83's fifth album, as he and contributor Morgan Kibby long for their teen years in romantic, breathy sentiments once prompted by study-hall tedium. The Journey-guided power balladry of the band's previous album, Before the Dawn Heals Us, worked its way into Saturdays, but it's contained, and Gonzalez would need to credit Sasha or Slowdive in the sleeve before he name-checks Steve Perry. Outside of the "Don't Save Us from the Flames (Superpitcher remix)," "Couleurs" is M83's most club-friendly song yet, with various percussive elements driving a blend of clean and gurgling synths that are just as glossy on "We Own the Sky." Such wobbly analog sounds hark back to the older M83 days (see 2003's acclaimed Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts), but climactic lifts like "Highway of Endless Dreams" strongly counter the provocative mood developed on previous albums. This cocktail of the eerie and the wonderful sounds a lot like summer 15 years ago, doesn't it?
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Dominic Umile