Saturdays=Youth CD - Mute / EMI

The fifth full-length album from M83 (primarily the work of Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez) seems to have split fans and critics right down the middle: those who are smitten by his nostalgia-inducing attempt at 1980s synth-pop and early 1990s shoegaze, and those who see it as a bit of a gimmick, far too derivative to be taken seriously. As with most polarizing works of art, Saturdays=Youth falls somewhere in between, walking a fine line between blatant imitation and unapologetic appreciation. Strangely enough, the album works best at its most emulative moments, when Gonzalez pushes all of his chips into the middle of the table, evidenced on the arena-sized, glossy standouts "Kim & Jesse," "Graveyard Girl," and "We Own the Sky." What hurts the album, though, is its lack of focus and cohesion. Book-ended and interspersed with uninspired walls of synth sounds and white noise, Saturdays=Youth tapers off just when it really gets going, entering a near-tailspin towards the end. It all adds up to a concept half-realized and quite a disappointment, considering the source. (Andy Hurst)



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