M83 takes us on a dream journey at MMW

By Sarah Sharp

Photo by Sarah Sharp

Let’s take a moment and thank whoever is responsible for building Marathon Music Works. Finally, Nashville has a home for acts of such caliber, like that of M83, this past Tuesday. Acts that don’t quite fit nicely into one category, that teeter on the edges of electronic, rock, experimental, ambient, fusing them together in a way that has made them for whatever reason in the past, skip Nashville altogether. Perhaps because Nashville’s moneymaker market is labeled as country, rock, or something in between, it has been common assumption that there isn’t a market for other genres. But Marathon Music Works to the rescue, because finally we are acknowledged in mass quantities!

M83 put on a beautiful spectacle. They were in front of a spacescape-like background—lights resembling starry nights, transforming colors, shifting spotlight on each member of the band as they had their moments to shine.

They put on a show as epic as their most recent 2011 release, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. Everything was so pronounced, intense, and sounded even better live. Seeing the bodies behind the music gave more context and life to the process, and they played their hearts out.

Everyone within that brick warehouse was hype, literally begging for more as they finished each song. When they came to the end of what seemed like an all-too-short set, we wouldn’t accept their exit. How could we let this dream be over so quick? As everybody howled for their return, they filed back on stage one at a time and banged out a few more dance rock anthems, while the rest of us bounced and shuffled uncontrollably to our collective wet dream being played in front of our eyes.

Photo by Sarah Sharp

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is exactly what you would imagine it to be. An epic journey, one of embracing your dreams. Whether caught behind closed eyes, or simply in the back of our minds, dreams are more beautiful than reality could ever achieve.

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming lives in another dimension. One intangible yet alive, drowning in heavy synths and irresistible hooks, trekking back to the 80s.  The first single, “Midnight City”, is the ultimate invitation to the double album, like a teaser, employing M83’s signature electronic synth-heavy sound with more live instrumentation—guitars, saxophone, flutes.

This multi-dimensional aspect of the album shows the band’s progression into a sound more mature and unified, and a band more comfortable with their instincts to experiment.

From the beginning, the album moves like a dream. There are complete thoughts like the ambient and heartfelt “Wait”, or the upbeat 80s dance ballad, “OK Pal”. There are short thoughts, like “This Bright Flash” and “Klaus I Love You” that would seem unfinished separate from their respective neighbors, but in accordance, fit perfectly in the grand scheme.

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