Starting the album is the first song to be released from this album - "Do It, Try It" which has an off-kilt keyboard that reminds me of early 1990's UK rave music, when the drum & bass kick in sound a little clunky in places and whilst it does have some beautiful passages as you would expect from M83 towards the end, it takes too long actually getting there for the payoff to be worth it. Second track "Go" features guest performances by Mai Lan and an uncredited guitar appearance by Steve Vai, who is a man I admire and respect. But I would not really be able to tell this was Zappa's little Italian virtuoso for the most part, but that solo is still a high point for the me on this song which confuses me a bit. I am not sure if they are trying to sound 80's retro, Daft Punk/Air clones or give the world another chill out session where the slow dance and happy dance crowd can co-exist in harmony. It is not a bad song at all, in fact I can see why it was released as a single and that solo towards the end is the best part of this song; but once again the song itself takes a while to get to that point and it almost lost me a few times. "Walkaway Blues" featuring Jordan Lawlor follow on, this is the debut track with Lawlor who has replaced Morgan Kibby who left before the recording of this album. It is a slower number that reminds me of the music of my youth, but not in a way that compliments the musicians sadly. It is that shade of 80’s retro which I was not too fond of in my youth, that feeling has not changed in the intervening years if I am honest. The saving grace is once again that the band know how to build towards a euphoric ending and Jordan Lawlor does have a good vocal style for this band, it is just a shame that 60% of this song does not match the talent of the band. “Bibi the Dog” follows on and it is forged in a Continental euro-disco style, sounding as dreamy as early Air with their own take on the formula. It is the first song on the album that actually raises my interest level, it is working to the strengths of the current version of the band and it does have a catchy beat. Featuring the vocals of Mai Lan once more, it does have a certain appeal for all those people who loved their disco to be slow and bright. “Moon Crystal” is a short track which sounds like it is based on a TV show theme, something which has been mentioned before and it is something that does not work for me. It just feels like it is out of place here and it also reminds me of the Curiosity Killed the Cat cover of the song “Hang on in There Baby” originally by Johnny Bristol, it shares a similar cord pattern and style; basically, I am not a fan of this song and I will quickly move on before I start to say something libellous.
"Tension" is another of the small interlude songs, this one is a slow keyboard progression, a strumming guitar and the hero is walking to the sunset as the film/tv show is ending after giving a moral lesson on the dangerous of playing with broken electronic devices. There is no tension sadly, just an upwards chord progression that goes nowhere in the brief time it is in existence and sort of ends a little awkwardly. "Atlantique Sud" once again features Mai Lan, this time sounding as if they are at the end of an awkward love story, with a song that has some great passages in it. I like the vocals, the lyrics in French and the gentle delivery is a nice touch to hear and the song itself is not without a certain charm; but the retro feeling of the music is something that does not sit too well here, it is backwards facing instead of looking to the future. It could well be a perfect metaphor for this album if the truth be told. "Time Wind" is the penultimate full song on this album, featuring an appearance from musical maverick Beck. This track had the potential to be the song of the album, despite the clunky keyboard which litters this number, Mr Beck has weaved his magical vocals over this song and make it an interesting number. However, it ends without any real drama or sense of finality; it just sorts of drifts off without any real momentum or sense of closure that could have given this song an edge. Even a fade out ending to this 80's-esque number would have worked better than the meandering drift to a halt that ends this song - more frustration that has become the trademark of this album. The next number is the final interlude song called "Ludivine" and it is a sub-two minute piece that drifts around for a little bit, leaves stage left without the drama and was not required at this point of the album. It could have very easily just been added to the final song, which is called "Saturday Night 1987" and it is a sombre piece with slow keys, reflective lyrics and soul searching about the past. Now, this might be a beautiful moment for Anthony Gonzalez as he looks back on years gone by as he grew up, but it does not reach the required emotional peaks to make it anything other than a decent song that reminds me of the Lionel Ritchie & Diana Ross song "Endless Love", but it does not have a chorus that sticks in the brain, it just feels like an empty room without any warmth that a reflective track requires. A sad ending to this album, but without tears....
2 out of ten - If only there was some quality control
Top track - Road Blaster
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