M83 blows the doors off with their newest effort, and it delivers a solid sense of optimism and epic scale in its sound. Consequently I now have the overwhelming urge to don a cape and fight crime, or pole vault over the Great Wall of China, but I digress. The layering of each of its 15 tracks is masterful and I could hear a new element each time I listened through any song. The pacing shines as well, and it kept me engaged and refreshed with a pattern of longer songs paired with shorter songs, which makes for an enjoyable and engaging ride.
Since the band leapt into the mainstream back in 2011 with the hit single “Midnight City,” they’ve managed to carve out and build upon a unique style. M83’s style maintains the standard electronic dance grooves, with heavy synths, drums beats and sound effects, that are expected within the electronic genre. However, the band combines these electronic layers with piano, strings, and brass, which brings refreshing contrast. With one listen to this album, it is clear that M83 has their feet firmly planted on the sound they want. I was impressed with how many different musical elements play a relevant role in “Junk,” from strings and brass instruments to vocals and synth-pop beats. In addition, each musical element blends seamlessly into the whole soundscape of the album, and each element is then allowed a song or two to dazzle and carry the vibe on its own.
The pre-release single “Do It, Try It” is the weakest portion of this album, and I encourage listening beyond it. New songs like “Go,” “Walk Away Blues,” and “Road Blaster” are strong examples of how different the album’s songs can be, yet still blend together wonderfully. It’s obvious from “Junk” that M83 is having a blast and making some supercharged music. This band has proven it has the chops to perform a thrilling live show that I am dying to see. M83 is having fun and kicking ass, and this latest album rides its own high from start to finish without a dull moment.
Rating: 4/5 Stars