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Team Ghost
You Never Did Anything Wrong To Me Iain Moffat , May 28th, 2010 07:42

We're not absolutely certain just what the deciding factor was that led to Nicolas Fromageau parting company with M83 just as they were beginning to get notable critical attention, but, on the evidence of what he's done here with new colleagues Christophe Guerin and Jean-Philippe Talaga, we suspect that musical differences may not have been the overwhelming consideration. No bad call at all, of course: Dead Cities... may have been worlds away from much of the wilfully dishevelled post-Libertinism of its age, but it's turned out to have exercised a curious prescience, meaning that picking up where it left off is both astute and, thankfully, astonishing...

As you might expect given both the provenance and the label, there's a little more than a hint of eau de shoe about proceedings, most substantially on the excellent 'A Glorious Time', whose temperate whirr and aorta-annexing chord progressions take it towards territory reminiscent of Ride's 'Dreams Burn Down' (an influence that its tender "leave it all behind you" refrain repeatedly betrays) but with vocals that are marginally more muscular and at a significantly steeper angle, and also to great effect on the more jaggedly hyperactive 'Only You Can Break My Heart', whose hairy effects embarkation, weirdly timeless shrill synths and element of neo-gothic wordlessness collide in a bruised blur that bleeds wonderfully into the probing piano and cardiac metronomy of 'Colours In Time'.

Yet what delights most of all, as always, is the sheer expansiveness of the palate from which Fromageau's plucking. 'Echoes' is probably as close as this comes to its Big Pop Moment thanks to guitars that chug and chime like a rather warmer Cure, singing that approximates the telling-half-a-story air of prime Barney Sumner, and soaring technoid sirenisms towards its conclusion, and there are even better moments still: 'Sur Nous Les Etincelles Du Soleil' is a symphony in fragile, exotic minimalism, perforated with Gallic breathiness akin to Liz Fraser on 'Otterley' or, a generation further adrift, Kathy Warren's celebrated contribution to 'I'm Not In Love'. 'Lonely, Lonely, Lonely' may well be the masterpiece here, its slow burn taking it from strikingly subtle beatronica through tremendously canvas-completing electronic washes beneath a luxuriously lachrymose five-note ever-more multi-tracked motif that's among the most thoroughly unravelling offerings we've heard all year. A suitably spectral opening salvo, then, and one whose variety and bizarre vivacity suggest Team Ghost may be making their presence felt for some time yet.