• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Review: Fantasy by M83

ByMilad Sherzad

Mar 31, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s been nearly 4 years since M83 last released an LP. Since 2019, Gonzalez has quietly hidden from the limelight, busily recording new tracks. In this time, the world could not have looked any different; pre-pandemic life feels a distant, unattainable memory. But M83 remains a constant, once again producing ethereal atmospheric music that takes us back to a time even before this. Fantasy highlights the best in Gonzalez’s career and takes us back to his real roots as a musician in shoegazing and dream pop, echoing his music from the early 2000s.

Within the first two tracks, Gonzalez elegantly transports us into his fantasy world. ‘Oceans Niagara’, perhaps the most vibrant track, brings an optimistic feel to the record. Simply repeating “beyond adventure” creates a utopian environment in the listener’s mind, providing a welcome escape from the hellscape of post-pandemic life, an escape from the dread of growing up, and a warm embrace into youth, adventure, and comfort.

Other standouts include ‘Amnesia’ and ‘Earth To Sea’, where we can really feel Gonzalez enjoying himself. They effortlessly allow the listener to fantasise, imaging worlds built so easily from synth chords and dreamy vocals. ‘Fantasy’ provides us the deepest reconnection with his previous material, showcasing the same high energy and emotion prevalent on his older work. It would not look out of place on Before The Dawn Heals Us and Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

The influence of the late Manuel Göttsching is ever present, especially on the track Deceiver. These minimalistic inspired motifs really do prove that less is more, allowing an easy traversal of the album from start to finish, a true fantasy journey.

The album is by no means perfect, and occasionally it feels that energy is built up only to dissipate in an uninteresting manner. But on the whole, the album achieves what any M83 album is intended to do: to make you disconnect from the monotony of life, and instead dream.

Gonzalez has produced a great record, not just sonically, but also as a statement. He’s produced the music he loves, with no care for public opinion, or for the financial views of record companies. This is really what music should be. The world is in a far worse place than it was 4 years ago, but Gonzalez keeps us grounded and hopeful that we can still enjoy life.

Image “M83 at The Music Box Hollywood” by Jametiks is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

By Milad Sherzad

Senior Writer