Album: Air, Love 2 (Virgin)
Sunday 04 October 2009
Love 2 is a return to the source for "Air French Band". (It's so much more satisfying to call them that awkward album-sticker name, don't you think? Just as the disambiguating "The London Suede" is actually a better name than Suede.)
On their fifth studio album – sixth, if you include the Virgin Suicides soundtrack – you won't find celebrity collaborators, and you won't find crazy Japanese instruments. Instead, Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin have returned to the womb-like analogue warmth of their favourite tools – Moogs and fuzz boxes, Theremins and school recorders – to create a coherent suite of mood music that is both heady and intricate, with pretty efflorescences and overpowering climaxes, but essentially utopian and optimistic. It cements their place as a kind of Franco-Kraftwerk (right down to the fact that Love 2 was recorded in their own Kling Klang-style purpose-built studio, Atlas, in the banlieues of Paris).
Another thing you won't find here is a hit. The single "Sing Sang Sung", featuring the gamine gambolling of an uncredited female vocalist, is the closest thing to a pop song, but there's no "Kelly Watch the Stars" or "Sexy Boy" here, not even a "Cherry Blossom Girl" or "Wonder Milky Bitch".
There is, though, plenty of other-worldly strangeness, right from the start. Opening track "Do the Joy" (available as a free download at www.aircheology.com) sounds like the story of the proliferation of life on Earth told in a dispassionate "for mash, get Smash" robo-voice, but it's so mangled that it might be about something else entirely. "Love" is a reprise of the bossa-disco beat of George McCrae's "Rock Your Baby" with breathy autotuned imprecations over the top. "Tropical Disease" sounds like stock library music from a composer who was undergoing some sort of apocalyptic breakdown, while "So Light Is Her Footfall" could be an out-take from Serge Gainsbourg's concept album Histoire de Melody Nelson.
Any listener who has drifted away from the duo since Moon Safari won't be disappointed if they choose this moment to dip back into Air's hermetic universe.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 2 Pictures show young Palestinian girl biting Israeli soldier trying to detain boy during West Bank protests
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet: Technician quits after social media row with actor's fans
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics