M83‘s lead single from upcoming release Junk marks an intriguing return to form. M83 are often billed as a band, but it seems lead songwriter and producer Anthony Gonzalez tends to receive all the attention. And rightfully so. With his own brand of maximalist electronic production, he’s like the nostalgic, synthpop cousin of Trent Reznor…albeit less angsty, less pissed off, and French.
Given how quirky and experimental this track is, you could interpret the title as a set of instructions. Melding upbeat piano melodies, burbling analog synths, and funky basslines, there’s a strong element of 70s space disco. But then the hook comes around, with its soaring saw-wave synthesisers and gated reverb snare hits, Gonzalez’s oft imitated vocals wailing over the onslaught of noise.
And with that, we’re taken back to vintage M83. Nostalgia has always been the most deeply embedded characteristic of their sound, and “Do It, Try It” does little to buck this trend. But having such a signature sound can be both a blessing and a curse. For the past decade or so, M83 have essentially defined the template for every indietronica, 80s New Wave and synthpop-influenced band out there. To have such a distinct sound is obviously something that many artists strive to attain. But it can render a band complacent, content to rest on their laurels. In fact, the worst insult you can direct towards a band is to claim that all their songs sound the same.
Although M83 have dealt in this signature sound for years now, there’s always been enough variety to convince you that they’re more than capable of pushing the envelope, and “Do It, Try It” gives you the indication that Gonzalez is still committed to doing something new and fresh. I look forward to hearing what that is.
Hometown: Antibes, France.
Sounds like: Daft Punk, Todd Terje.
Say what? Continuing down that vein of nostalgic influences, Gonzalez claims the biggest influences for the record have come in the form of classic sitcoms like Punky Brewster and Who’s the Boss. And continuing down the vein of making awesome collaborations with awesome artists, the record is also set to feature guest appearances from Beck and Susanne Sundfør. Get excited.
Over and out, Darren.