M83's lush, expansive sound already made their albums feel twice as big as they were, so an actual double album from Anthony Gonzalez and company was inevitable. However, on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, he doesn’t use that extra space to top the widescreen nostalgia of Saturdays = Youth; instead, he fills it with songs that cover more sounds and moods than any of M83's previous work, resulting in a collection of impressionistic moments rather than a grand statement. The album begins with two songs that reaffirm Gonzalez's flair for the unapologetically epic music that makes him a rarity among artists in the 2010s, electronic or otherwise. He recruits Zola Jesus' Nika Roza Danilova for “Intro,” and her unusual mix of frostbitten edge and vulnerable warmth channels the huge emotions Gonzalez favors perfectly. Meanwhile, “Midnight City”’s sleek neon tones show just how far he’s traveled from Saturdays = Youth’s ornate sound. However, the album’s first disc goes even farther afield with the tender piano instrumental “Where the Boats Go”; “Raconte-Moi Un Histoire,” where a child imagines a world where everyone turns into jungle frogs over bouncy synths and guitars, and “Soon, My Friend,” which ends the first half of the album with symphonic grandeur and Beach Boys harmonies. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming's second disc sounds more traditionally M83, from the triumphant-yet-heartbroken “My Tears are Becoming a Sea” to the thrilling rush of “New Map” and “Steve McQueen.” Despite the sprawl of the album’s size and sounds, Gonzalez holds everything together with wide-eyed enthusiasm. He handles most of the vocals here, singing with a yelp that evokes Howard Jones on “Reunion” and “OK Pal” -- and while this album is as indebted to the ‘80s as Saturdays = Youth was, it somehow feels less steeped in nostalgia. Gonzalez displays his uncanny knack for making unfashionable sounds fresh again with “Claudia Lewis”' un-ironic slap bass and “Splendor”'s children’s choir; it takes guts to use these sounds and brains to use them well, and fortunately, he has both. Unlike Saturdays = Youth's wall-to-wall epics, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming offers ebb and flow, with interludes like the dreamy “Echoes of Mine” and “Klaus I Love You” tipping the album’s balance toward atmosphere instead of pop songs. More than any of M83's other albums, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming feels like a destination to explore; while it may not be quite as striking as Saturdays = Youth, it delivers a welcome mix of classic sounds and promising changes.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2