Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (2LP)




On the list as one of the most radiant keyboard albums, M83's absurdly lush Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts combines a small arsenal of antiquated synths and drum machines with a shoegaze aesthetic to create a giant starburst of sound and analogue miasma. A French duo comprised of Nicolas Fromageau and Anthony Gonzalez, the pair's songs seem to evolve from one major chord to the next with tremendous velocity, always accumulating dense new layers of sound along the way. The keyboards throb, quiver, arpeggiate, and drone with such unbridled intensity that there's rarely any space (or need) for anything else. But while the shrill analog thrash of "America," the frenzied overload of "0078H," and the sustained crescendo of "Noise" certainly prove beyond doubt that guitars needn't be a prerequisite for post-rock dramatics, M83 are so much more than just a quiet-loud-quiet-loud outfit with a twist. As evidenced by the sing-songy hymnal of "In Church," the sweetly sung vocals on "Run Into Flowers," and the provincial chimes of final track "Beauties Can Die," M83 is a keyboard band of the best kind: one with nuance, tone, thrash, and colour.

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