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Air - Love 2

Air, Love 2

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

FRENCH electronic duo Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin – aka Air – describe fifth studio album Love 2 as something of a return to source.

That’s to say, they have foregone guest collaborators and diverse instrumentation in favour of a return to the basic ingredients that helped to get them noticed – Moogs and fuzz boxes, Theremins and school recorders. It was even recorded in their own purpose-built studio, Atlas, in Paris.

The result remains unmistakeably Air-like, albeit less adventurous than normal. It’s soothing, beautiful in places. Yet still it’s missing something.

Perhaps the lack of collaborations and, therefore, diversity make Love 2 somewhat basic. It’s good, just not great.

Hopes were raised following the release of lush, playful lead single Sing Sang Sung, which arrives late in the album like a beautiful breeze on a hot summer’s day. Featuring a dreamy lead female vocal and some nice synths and acoustic plucking, it’s classic Air and a bright light on the LP.

So Light Is Her Footfall, meanwhile, has a trip-hop ambience about it, which sets it up as an early favourite, and gives it a cinematic quality that’s fuller and more polished than some of the songs on the LP.

While Be A Bee thrives on its buzzing bassline, snappy beat and almost disco-like energy. A rocket-like synth surge every now again, coupled with Ocean’s 12-style guitar licks, also propel it onto the list of album faves.

And Heaven’s Light is as high-flyingly dreamy as it’s name suggests… complete with beautifully ralised piano arrangements.

But as good as such moments remain, there are some indulgences that fail to measure up. Title track Love, with its Moog-like fuzziness and jazzy vibe, is difficult to warm to as much as I felt I should, while even the sprawling Tropical Disease wasn’t as contagious as it ought to have been.

Missing The Light of Day suffers from the same shortcoming, while the dub-style of Night Hunter felt a little bit like below-par Bonobo and took me into some strangely surreal soundscapes that provided an unwelcome contrast to the album’s more lovely arrangements.

That said, final tracks You Can Tell It To Everybody, with its easy-going, laidback grooves, and African Velvet, which has a very world music vibe attached to its European-ness, ensure that the album ends with a flourish.

Love 2 is by no means a failure. In fact, it’s a good album. It’s just difficult to become smitten with entirely.

Download picks: So Light Is Her Football, Be A Bee, Heaven’s Light, Sing Sang Sung, African Velvet

Track listing:

  1. Do The Joy
  2. Love
  3. So Light Is Her Footfall
  4. Be A Bee
  5. Missing The Light Of The Day
  6. Tropical Disease
  7. Heaven’s Light
  8. Night Hunter
  9. Sing Sang Sung
  10. Eat My Beat
  11. You Can Tell It To Everybody
  12. African Velvet