M83

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Naďve Records ’11) Rating: A-
I read that this album was inspired by the Smashing Pumpkins’ epic double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, one of my all-time favorites, so I was eager to hear a band I’d long meant to check out anyway (I’d heard them before but not to the extent that they probably deserve). I can see where the Pumpkins comparison is warranted to a degree, because even though this double album is much less guitar-based, the best music here is also dramatic, epic, grand, lovely, dreamy, majestic, and any other such adjective that can be used to describe the Pumpkins’ music at its most lush and grandiose. In this case I’d say that Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming didn’t need to be a double album, in fact it’s only 73 minutes long so it really didn’t need to be, as the album for me is more about its outstanding highlights than its overall excellence. The album has 22 songs, 11 on each disc, and I’d say that had the album been trimmed to its 15 or so best tracks, minus the many short songs I’d describe as pretty space fillers (PSFs), this could’ve been a masterpiece or at least close to it. Fortunately, even the PSFs are pleasant for the most part (if superfluous), and again this album to me is mostly about its enduring high points, starting with “Intro,” a dramatic, majestic duet (group leader Anthony Gonzalez and Zola Jesus) that deserves a better song title. “Midnight City” was the big hit, and it’s a great groovy dance song (the sax solo towards the end merely clinches it), while “Reunion” is all about its catchy vocal hooks, and “Wait” is a brilliantly emotional ballad that brings Peter Gabriel to mind (Gonzalez sings more often, and more confidently, here than he had on prior albums). "Raconte-Moi une Histoire" is an adorable song with an adorable cameo from a little girl, Gonzalez’ makes effective use of multiple vocalists on “Claudia Lewis,” and “Soon, My Friend” provides a suitably epic finale to disc one, easily the superior of the two. Of course, disc two has its share of highly recommendable tracks as well, “New Map,” “OK Pal,” “Splendor,” “Year One, One UFO,” “Steve McQueen,” “Echoes Of Mine,” and the suitably epic “Outro” chief among them, but again this album is a case where less would’ve been more. It’s still a very good album (with plentiful highlights), one that’s best listened to with headphones on late at night, but it’s also somewhat victimized by its overelaborate ambitiousness.

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