On SATURDAYS = YOUTH, the 2008 follow-up to the ambient-leaning DIGITAL SHADES VOL. 1, M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez wanders with his synth-pop muse into a dreamy, expansive realm populated by characters from John Hughes films. (See the cover art for evidence.) Though many 21st-century acts incorporate a 1980s influence with some level of winking irony, Gonzalez takes inspiration from that keyboard-loving decade and uses it with utter sincerity, as best exemplified by "Kim & Jessie," a soaring romantic anthem that nods to peak-era Tears for Fears and Simple Minds.
At times gleefully melodramatic (see the oddly sunny goth number "Graveyard Girl"), YOUTH fully embraces Gonzalez's dense, maximalist aesthetic, a sound that he showcases best on the pulsing "Couleurs," a heavily layered synthesizer workout, and "We Own the Sky," a majestic track that steadily moves towards the heavens via keyboard propulsion. Clearly M83's most focused and pop-savvy outing, YOUTH should appeal to Gonzalez's faithful fans, while also drawing new listeners into his mesmerizing aural landscapes.
Alternative Press (p.137) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he music is still as narcotic and gorgeous as ever....The integration of female vocalist Morgan Kibby brings M83 a new soaring soul..."
Magnet (p.112) - "[T]he warm synthesizers are still in play and Gonzalez's propensity for beguiling bombast is undiminished, but by imposing structure and melodic discipline on these sprawling compositions, he's made them even more elegant and effective."
CMJ - "M83 has created a collection that's both a loving homage and a modern original."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.69) - Ranked #27 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "11 electro-pastel-pop symphonies..."
Paste (magazine) (p.59) - "With guitars gliding across translucent synth lines, the songs are big statements rendered in cold neon."