M83: Saturdays=Youth [Mute]

What’s that? An audible, intelligible voice? Singing lyrics that rhyme, in metered cadences? Yes, indeed. In violation of nearly every tenet of shoegazing, Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez has found his voice and pushed it to the front of the silky sheen of sound that has defined M83 since its inception in 2001. On fourth album Saturdays=Youth, the warm synthesizers are still in play and Gonzalez’s propensity for beguiling bombast is undiminished, but by imposing structure and melodic discipline on these sprawling compositions, he’s made them even more elegant and effective. They are not, ironically enough, more accessible than Gonzalez’s previous, mostly instrumental songs. With the exception of “Skin Of The Night” (which sounds like Bel Canto doing a cover of new-wave hit “Send Me An Angel”) and the giddy, garage-pop “Graveyard Girl,” the 11 tracks here are still trafficking in beauty, not hooks. Whether Gonzalez grew weary of going in gauzy circles or simply wanted to apply his sonic template in new ways, Saturdays=Youth is unlikely to be mistaken for anything but the modern dream pop it is. [www.mute.com]

—Jason Ferguson

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