It's understandable that I've got a soft spot for M83. After all, as James Murphy might put it, I was there: I grew up with movies like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, whose teen angst and yearning soundtracks serve as essential touchstones to the band's aesthetic. I also grew up on bands like the Echo and the Bunnymen and Simple Minds (I even saw the latter in concert in 1985), whose soaring choruses and ocean-sized production values have increasingly informed M83's own music, particularly on 2011's epic Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.
But frontman Anthony Gonzalez is no mere acid-wash revivalist. While the French musician is vocal about his fondness for John Hughes' teen flicks and his debt to '80s pop, he never stops at mere pastiche. He cribs far and wide, from INXS' booming drums to Echo and the Bunnymen's porous wall of guitars, and from Vangelis' synth fantasias to Kraftwerk's percolating calculator beats. "Raconte-Moi Une Histoire" is part Laurie Spiegel and part Boards of Canada; songs like "Intro" and "Midnight City" go for the boundless grandeur of bands like Sigur Rós and Mogwai. And while Gonzalez generally has his eyes turned toward the heavens, the shoegaze swirl of My Bloody Valentine and Ride is always present in his buzzing, shivering drones -- just check "This Bright Flash," which sounds like it was written to make up for Kevin Shields' interminable (and now concluded!) delay in getting out that next M.B.V. album.