The concept of a double album in this digital age may feel slightly redundant, but if there’s anyone up to the task, it would be the revivalist Anthony Gonzalez aka M83. Clocking in at 70 minutes, the safe bet is that it’s Anthony Gonzalez’s method of signalling his desires for the record. A double album mean ambition, sprawl, a sense of grandiosity, the qualities Hurry Up We’re Dreaming and M83 aspire to.
When the album starts, you can’t help but think he’s pulled it off. ‘Intro’ deserves to be canonised as the flawless archetype of an opening track. Everything about it sets the tone for the album, from the layered instrumentation, the breathtaking dynamic shifts and a stunning vocal turn from Zola Jesus. But only after ‘Midnight City’s tribute to the flashing glory of city nightlife and ‘Reunion’s synth pop by numbers that the album shows off its hidden magic. A sense of clarity dawns, revealing that the album as not a celebration of scope and size, but one of structure. In a pattern that follows the lead of Eno’s Another Green World, Hurry Up We’re Dreaming alternates between fully-formed songs and instrumental, often ambient, vignettes like ‘Fountains’ and ‘Klaus I Love You’. With architectural precision, the two sides ebb and flow at the same time, building and releasing tension by switching between the two modes of expression at the same point in the running order. ‘My Tears Are Becoming a Sea’ even opens the second disc with as much pomp and circumstance as ‘Intro’ does the first. Gonzalez’s usual electronic shoegazing is placed within a bigger framework here. The acoustic ballad ‘Plea’, and its second disc counterpart ‘Splendour’ feel like natural additions to his repertoire as styles, as is the giddy, almost jangle-pop feel of ‘Year One, One UFO’. Each of the album’s 22 tracks has its own secrets, its own little bit of brilliance.
The only real catch is that the core aesthetic at play is still a facsimile of what has informed every other M83 album. If their dazed, dreamy, and heavily nostalgic take on pop has never won your favour before, nothing here is likely to convert you. What has been achieved on the album is a full embodiment of what music celebrating the power of dreams should be, an experience that is as elaborate, vivid, and moving as the dreams it hopes to emulate.