Air

Love 2

Astralwerks

Oct 16, 2009 Issue #28 Fall 2009 - Monsters of Folk Bookmark and Share


Judging from the contentious back-and-forth discourse following the viral release of single "Do the Joy," Air fans most likely fall into two camps: those that want Moon Safari 2 and the group that prefers Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin's more vaporous downtempo jams. This reviewer probably prefers the former to the latter but Love 2 is hard to hate. After the gauzy mini-orchestras of Pocket Symphony, these 10 Moog-y tracks seem more fine-focused. Touches of early Stereolab-like psychedelia ("Be the Bee," "Eat My Beat") and effete piano lounge ("Heaven's Light," "So Light Is Her Footfall") glide alongside each other.

The new songs were self-recorded and produced at the duo's Atlas Studio, and it shows. Robotic workouts, such as "Be the Bee" and "Do the Joy," are intricate studio mutations ready for the stage. But for all its lispy stadium bounce, "Sing Sang Sung" drifts around the room like a helium-depleted balloon in a humid room. "African Velvet" suffers more from the same heavy-lidded quandary. It's a pleasant experiment in Malian guitar that builds into a drowsy tango with a saxophone. It's perfect for an elevator, but for a veteran, festival-worthy band, it sounds half-finished. "Tropical Disease" does a lot more with its ascending piano figure, thumb piano, and washes of heart-swelling synths. Even that synthetic flute during the bridge sounds less wonky than it should.

L.A.-based percussionist Joey Waronker, who had previously joined Air for their intimate, three-man tour of Southeast Asia last fall, and frequent collaborator Stéphane "Alf" Briat help boost the gossamer-thin mix. At a time when their former opening band (Phoenix) is gaining notoriety for their sexy blend of madcap lyricism and airtight songwriting, Air come across as flat and middling. We can all agree that any Air fan doesn't care for that. (www.aircheology.com)

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April 24th 2019
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