Album review: Air Moon Safari Source/ Virgin CDV 2848)
If, as some believe, 1998 is to be the year that France finally produces pop music of international appeal, then synth duo Air are the lads most likely to do it. Where previous Gallic popsters have gamely hacked away at Anglo-American-styled rock, Air gently whip up something more akin to a souffle, one thing at which the French have no equal.
The results are fluffy and beguiling: "Sexy Boy", the hit single from their Moon Safari debut, sounds like the kind of gossamer pop that Stereolab and St Etienne strive to make, but it's completely lacking in the ponderous irony that weights those bands' records with cloying kitsch. There's no smug half-smiles or wryly raised eyebrows here - they're simply concerned with making Kraftwerk's great pop prophecy come true, with synthesising moments of tenderness and balm through their machines.
They're aptly named: where their compatriots Daft Punk deal in the earthiest of techno stomps, Air's Nicolas Godin and Jean Benoit Dunckel operate at the opposite end of the elemental spectrum, with breezy, ethereal tones.
My only misgiving about Moon Safari would be Air's over-reliance on vocoder vocals. Certainly, "All I Need" and "You Make It Easy" are all the more striking for the contributions of American chanteuse Beth Hirsch, whose presence animates their soundscapes in a way that Beth Orton struggles to achieve on her equivalent work with The Chemical Brothers. But then, Air's balmy pastoralism is a long country road away from the Chemicals' fearsome urban Sturm und Drang. An angelic delight.
Life & Style blogs
Ebola outbreak: Why has a disease that's only ever killed 2,000 people captivated the darkest side of our imagination?
Ebola virus: UK health officials issue warning to doctors as experts admit the outbreak 'is not under control'
Watch: Vogue Italia's plus-size models in fetish-inspired lingerie shoot
UK is ready to deal with Ebola outbreak, says Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond
Flower beards: The beard frenzy has now gone floral
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 4 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
- < Previous
- Next >
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Qualified and experi...
£21588 - £31552 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Exceptional teacher ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to be part ...