M83 has done hugeness from the French project’s beginnings as an electronic twist on shoegaze’s immersive swirl. Recall “Run Into Flowers,” from 2003’s Dead Cities, Red Seas, & Ghost, or “Don’t Save Us From the Flames,” from 2005’s Before the Dawn Heals Us. The challenge for main man Anthony Gonzalez has been how to keep making each album huger: On 2008’s Saturdays & Youth, he successfully did so by adopting the teenage emotions of John Hughes films, and then with 2011’s Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, he achieved his biggest commercial success to date by ratcheting up the grandiosity still further, helped by producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (who has since produced albums by Paramore and Tegan and Sara).
What’s huger than hugely huge? How about a Tom Cruise sci-fi movie soundtrack? Scored in collaboration with Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy collaborator Joseph Trapanese and due out April 9 via Back Lot Records (the film comes out April 19)? “StarWaves,” the first track to surface from the soundtrack, is a slow-building instrumental on an even larger scale than past M83. Now comes “Oblivion,” billed as a proper M83 song and featuring booming vocals by Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør. “In the night, you’ll hear me calling,” a choir of Sundfør’s repeats over bombastic synth swell. The best part, though, is actually the outro, which is based around contemplative piano reminiscent of the Twin Peaks theme. Hugeness isn’t always an end in itself.