M83 is proof positive that sometimes hard work pays off. The barely-classifiable French electronic ensemble, fronted by Anthony Gonzalez, was five LP’s deep, a whole career for some bands, before Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming landed like a bomb in the summer of 2011. Buoyed by the honking, manipulated sax of lead single “Midnight City,” which found its way into commercials, movie trailers, and television episodes, the record brought the success the group had striven for but failed to achieve with prior masterpieces Saturdays = Youth and Dead Cities, Red Seas, & Lost Ghosts.
After a layoff of a few years, they returned this spring with Junk, released in April on Mute Records. The album’s cover and overall vibe feel like they’re being beamed down on late night UHF channels from another era, and that’s no accident; in an Entertainment Weekly interview last winter, he expounded on the album’s inspirations and themes. “I feel like TV shows are starting to sound and look the same. There’s no more passion anymore. So this album is a tribute to those old-fashioned shows,” citing Who’s the Boss and Punky Brewster. In the process, he employed “a lot of classic drum sounds, with bass and drinks, an Elk synth, I felt like we really tried to be very modern but also very old-school at the same time….” Nailed it. Junk is packed to the brim with woozy synths, reverb-soaked drumlines, and one gargantuan, effervescent solo from guitar god Steve Vai on lead single “Go!”
The subsequent Junk tour is going to pack an awful lot of sound--and light--into a small space at Bogart’s this week. For the second tour in a row, Gonzalez recruited a new member through an international online search (the winner: Kaela Sinclair, a songwriter and musician from Dallas), rounding out the quintet. Their live sound is built to fill the largest festival stages and amphitheaters (they packed the legendary Red Rocks outside of Denver last week), and their eye-popping light show is something straight out of an old Sears photo studio. This appears to be their first time gracing the Queen City with their presence, so pack Bogart’s on Tuesday to take a ride to Midnight City.