Before the Dawn Heals Us
/mute; 2005/






Anthony Gonzalez is a great man.  Now the sole music maker behind M83, he continues offering terribly emotional, (mostly) electronic music.  If you thought Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts was a bit overwhelming, wait until you hear this beast (wait again, you probably already have).  Braver than its predecessor, Before the Dawn Heals Us ups the cathartic bliss twofold.  Many songs on this album get right to the melancholic, cinematic juicy bits much quicker then the previous batch, while never appearing overeager.  I mean, there are a few missteps, like “Car Chase Terror!” which is interesting only upon the first few listens.  Also, it might just be me but I’m finding that a lot of these sounds are getting a bit tiresome if not used to create an ethereal melody.  On some songs the sounds themselves are supposed to create ambience (a few drones here and there) but that just doesn’t do it for me anymore.  Luckily, most of the tracks here are constructed beautifully and Gonzalez is able to squeeze every last bit of melancholy out of the notes.  The album cover fits the music well, especially “Farewell / Goodbye” which puts me atop a cityscape in a Northern bound plane heading away from the love of my life.  Actually come to think of it, a lot of these songs do that.

“Don’t Save Us from the Flames” is an incredible, incredible track.  It is the sound of what super energetic Coca-Cola commercial music will be like in 200 years (if we’re still around).  At first I thought it was too much, over baked if you will.  But after repeated listens it has continued to satisfy me thoroughly.  This is probably because twice, when you think the song is over, it shifts into yet another mind melting, high octane, synth infused coda.  “Fields, Shorelines and Hunters” is an amazing (almost noise) track that is some of the most coma inducing music post-MBV.  “*” comes right after with its bouncing, frenzied high synths accompanied by longer tones and propelling drums.  They are both high points on the record.  “Teen Angst” may have a silly title but it is one of the most restrained tracks, featuring breathy female vocals as well as some of the most cheapo sounds on this disc (not a bad thing).  “Safe” showcases Gonzalez on a normal(!) piano until it builds to yet another cinematic, incredibly sad second half.  At the end fireworks can be heard going off and you realize that this may be the end of the record because you’ve been through so much, but there are still five more tracks (which I won’t go into).  This is just like what happened with ‘what’s their name’ after Isn’t Anything.

-Andrew Iliadis

/may 15th 2005/