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m83, "Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts"

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The most popular electronic French duo since Air have finally had their internationally acclaimed album issued in North America through Mute. Unfortunately, hearing this after the extended period of hype, I was expecting something more. Rather than hearing the masterpiece as so many have exploded about, my ears tell me this could easily be the most overrated album I can recall in a long, long time.


It's like very bad New Age, except that it's packaged for the hip kids rather than the boring yuppies. For 12 tracks, this band pushes all the right emotional buttons: making grand climactic wooshes—like the most masturbatory Alan Parsons or Emerson, Lake and Palmer moments—but the six minute long crescendos never go anywhere. Each song is a buildup and buildup with absolutely no payoff. By the halfway mark, I feel as if I've heard six intros in a row and no songs.

Just like Air, I find M83 completely onanistic and dull. Maybe we can blame this one on classical French playwriting, expressed in something like Waiting for Godot, where there was no climax, and the whole time was spent anticipating something that never comes. However, the writing on Dead Cities is amateurish, as the songs are incomplete, with directionless meandering. By the end of the album, my time has been robbed and I've got even less respect for the critics and fans who have inexplicably gushed over this sad excuse for music.

For existing M83 fans, it's worth noting that this US edition comes with a bonus disc of five audio tracks and two music videos.


Last Updated on Sunday, 27 May 2012 19:23  


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