"Saturdays = Youth"

(Mute 2008)M83 - Saturdays = Youth

A kitschy mix of new age and synthesizer heavy tunes, you can almost see the slow motion runner crossing the finish line in a montage from any number of typically 1980s movies or television shows when you queue up French electronic group M83's "Saturdays = Youth." Led by Anthony Gonzalez, the band's fifth studio album is one of delicate musical landscapes where pulses and pops never stop and soft vocals blend together for a cohesive mix.

An airy melody flows breathlessly over the smooth ambient/new age sounds of "Skin Of The Night" while similarly, its the vaguely robotic falsetto vocals that dominate on the twangy and memorable "Up!" M83 offer more straightforward electropop, think an alternative interpretation of Great Northern, with the upbeat and dreamy "Graveyard Girl" and the wave of melody that runs through "We Own The Sky." But it's the lengthy instrumental tracks and sections, like "Couleurs" with its thumping pulse, attitude and dance club rhythm, where Gonzalez lets loose.

If M83 are trying, as their biography states, to "celebrate…how it feels to be dazed, confused and 15 years old" with "Saturdays = Youth" it begs the question of just what kind of teenager Gonzalez was. Aside from two short monologues (that are light on the angst) it is a concept that is somewhat underwhelming. Dazed and confused they nail on the head with a whirlwind of wispy melodies. "Saturdays = Youth" is carefully constructed dreamy synthpop that is mature and, occasionally, outdated -- and purposely so. It is a combination that, with its interesting choices, won't be music to the ears of all fans.


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