A journey through the introspective and the bombastic, the striving and the exhaustive.
Reef Younis 2011
The double album: it carries a cold dread and an uneasy anticipation tinged with pessimism, the grim prospect of a double dose of suffering or generous reward. It’s often the indulgent point of no return for an artist; but for Anthony Gonzalez, the beating heart at the core of M83, it’s no great departure from what’s typically preceded it.
A man comfortable exploring an infinite and ever-amplifying ambition to blissful new planes, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming arrives as a natural point in M83’s often transcendent progression. After the all-consuming beauty of 2008’s Saturdays = Youth, this feels like the double-barrelled statement designed to propel Gonzalez to the stars. But whatever the album(s) lack(s) in narrative due to the gargantuan track-listing, Gonzalez’s single-mindedness and dreamy tenacity is enough to see the experience through to a resounding climax.
Asked to treat the release as two separate entities, it’s a point of importance to Gonzalez that this album is considered to be more than just a single body of work, and something infinitely more coherent than a simple collection of tracks. It’s a fine, comprehensive line to tread, and in many respects marks the album as the quintessential M83 timeline distilled, deconstructed and ostentatiously blown out all over again.
But where the sheer volume of tracks makes Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming a potentially daunting prospect, there’s a wonderful delight in the majestic builds and breakdowns of Midnight City; the scale and exultant splendour of Steve McQueen; the driving power of OK Pal; and the epic, reverb-drenched flourishes of My Tears Are Becoming a Sea. They’re grandiose reminders that when Gonzalez wants to reduce you to a sighing ball of pulse, blood and bone, he will with breathtaking force and grace.
Those tracks alone are worthy of underpinning any great album, but subsequently there’s a sense that Gonzalez has been undermined (albeit not undone) by his own grand ambitions. There’s the obvious case that if the filler was cut, we might have a masterpiece on our hands; but that’s not a salient point here because Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is about personal ambition – it’s a brave attempt to push already innovative boundaries and to create something more powerful than what’s come before.
While some consistency may have been sacrificed in favour of a space-filling selection of tracks, this set still represents a heaving, breathing journey through the introspective and the bombastic, the striving and the exhaustive. It is the undeniable sound of one man’s triumphant dreams.