Air | Talkie Walkie
Source | CD + DVD
"'Talkie Walkie' - The brand new album from the creators of the classic 'Moon Safari'!"
Air suffer from an impeccable pedigree. Since the 1998 release of 'Moon Safari' propelled them to pole position as premiers purveyors of breathy pop they've suffered at the hands of over-zealous critics, eager to topple the French duo from a pedestal they unwittingly established.
'10,000 Hz Legend' was greeted with claims of "Gallic underachievement" and "an inevitable early demise". Comments aimed doubtless at their drift from the overtly mainstream (backed up by off-the-cuff observations of the album's "lack of single potential").
It's hard to agree with this assessment and perhaps with the benefit of hindsight (and experience of a wider audio palette?) those reviewers might reconsider. Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin have an uncanny ability to continually coax a magical range of tones from the wide array of instruments - analogue and digital - that they turn their hands to.
'Talkie Walkie' might not feature the stellar cast of collaborators that '10,000 Hz Legend' gathered (notable participants included: Beck and Buffalo Daughter), but it certainly doesn't relinquish their tight grip on unashamedly plastic pop. Tracks like 'Venus' and 'Cherry Blossom Girl' recall the skewed pop of French pre-cursors Indochine (little known beyond the confines of their native France). Dissonance, flipped melodies and synthetic held tones - that hold up to scrutiny against the high points of progressive rock - form the backbone of Air's ensemble moments.
'Alpha Beta Gaga' - it's title forms an apt summary - encapsulates their talents neatly. Five minutes of unashamedly collision-fun featuring: trickling analogue pulses, synthesised whistles and finger picking banjo in a context that amply demonstrates the (artificial) intelligence that forms the cornerstone of their prodigious output.