M83 return with their first album since 2011 and it’s definitely in keeping with the vibe of its predecessors. Anthony Gonzalez’ ‘sound’ attempts to personify the “American Dream” through an extensive use of reverb effects and lyrics spoken softly over loud instruments. The use of synthesisers coupled with soothing vocals gives Junk a psychedelic/80’s kind of feel that leads the listener down a nostalgic path.
After Gonzalez’ success with ‘Midnight City’ from 2011’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, fans were eager to discover what the French artist would come out with next. You can’t deny Junk’s sound is very unique if not a slightly jarring listen at times. The first two tracks of the album, ‘Do It, Try It’ and ‘Go!’ are undoubtedly the most upbeat and are likely to be the most popular with catchy, repetitive lyrics and positive instrumentals.
The rest of Junk isn’t quite as good as its opening numbers. Halfway through the album adopts a slower more serious tone with the likes of ‘Bibi the Dog’ (this one he infuses with French vocals for a more sultry vibe) and ‘For the Kids’ (with a child’s voiceover said overtop smooth saxophone playing that mirrors the song title, evidently trying to reinforce Gonzalez’ ideals). The song titles don’t appear to have any relation so a running theme isn’t particularly obvious; it’s almost as if he turned around to his band and requested the ‘edgiest’ nouns, and these were the titles they came up with, (note ‘Solitude’ and ‘Time Wind’ to name a few).
‘Moon Crystal’ from the offset has a very Jackson 5-esque sound and you half expect a young Michael to come chiming in at any moment. This is one of Junk’s tracks that is all instrumental and breaks up the album nicely, almost as a sort of intermission. ‘Solitude’, on the other hand is more of a slow listen that borders on tiresome (all 6 minutes and 3 seconds of it). Honourable mentions of the album include ‘Road Blaster’ and ‘Sunday Night 1987’; both of which sound like soundtracks to 80s cult films.
Inevitably, Junk doesn’t have quite the same impact as some of M83’s previous work. Gonzalez’ vision is undoubtedly there with its typical adrenalin rush-inducing sound; waves of nostalgia pump through the veins of the album but fail to produce many memorable compositions that resonate with you after the track has ended.
Junk was released on 8 April 2016 via Naive.