Propelled by a huge synth-driven sound that could easily fill an arena, the band’s musical direction has been led by singer and guitarist Anthony Gonzalez since 2001, and is currently based in Los Angeles.
Their music is a reflective, lush and pulsing array of beautiful synth tones, heavily inspired by 80s dream pop, shoegaze and ambient music, and featuring themes like the American Dream and teenage youth.
Though they’re known for their cavernous synth sounds, later works like the ambitious double-album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming offer great depth through their string arrangements and strumming guitars.
M83’s seventh effort, Junk, is in many ways a departure from the sprawling synthesizer landscapes delivered by the band’s earlier works. It’s more concise in its sound structures, and while it features more retro-oriented synths at points, it never succumbs to the clichés or cheesiness of the decade it’s inspired by, retaining a sincerity that oozes from every song.
The album feels deeply personal, yet still features songs worthy of dancing to and skillfully written piano lines that belong in pop songs. While it takes an obvious look back at the 80s, at moments it even gives somber chills reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
The musicians on the album are all skilled and capable, providing the professionalism needed for Gonzalez’s complex songwriting.
M83’s newest album showcases Gonzalez’s masterful, impressive ability to change his sound while staying true to the synth-reliance that makes M83 what it is. While the concert likely won’t feature the album in its entirety, the newest addition to the already eclectic M83 catalogue is a solid listen all the way through, making this show a must-see.
Tickets for M83’s show at The National this Sunday, June 12th, are available on the venue’s website for $33, or for $38 at the door. M83 is scheduled to go on at 8:00pm, with Sofi Tukker opening. G