Before the Dawn Heals Us is M83's follow-up to the 2003 international breakthrough Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. If you're noticing a trend toward drifting album titles, that's deliberate -- M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez loves crafting antigravity masterpieces of layered and meandering synthesizers. He's also the principal player on Dawn, with previous collaborator Nicolas Fromageau having moved into solo work.
Anthony Gonzalez's last album, Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts, triggered pages of prose purpler than Prince's wardrobe. Nobody actually used the phrase "sonic cathedrals", but it was a close-run thing. Like Sigur Ros and Ulrich Schnauss, Gonzalez, from France, is a latter-day shoegazer: one suspects his record collection houses great swathes of My Bloody Valentine, as well as a bit of Jean-Michel Jarre and Pink Floyd.
Have you ever fallen asleep during the X-Files’ opening credits, then awoken to a Volkswagen commercial? Have you ever wanted to? Guitars and synths snarl, gurgle and moan ’til one doesn’t distinguish itself from the other. (Due to a much-ballyhooed lineup shuffle) apparitional vocals float sideways through the middle of the mix, sighing disposable magnetic poetry. Whoever stands under the M83 umbrella, they keep one foot in non-representational digi-trash and the other in shameless ’70s glam.