Review: Jack Foley
PROGRESSIVE French duo, Air (aka duo Jean-Benoît Dunckel
and Nicolas Godin) appear to have been caught in something of
a creative vacuum of late, struggling to recapture the form which
first brought them to attention, in 1998, with Moon Safari, and
on the soundtrack to Sofia Coppolas The Virgin Suicides.
The good news, however, is that their latest affair, the deeply
seductive Talkie Walkie, is a blistering return to form,
a beautifully melancholic album that can provide ideal mood music
to suit any occasion.
Gone are the pretensions which made 2003s City
Reading (Tre Storie Western), which featured author, Alessandro
Baricco, so isolating, replaced instead by the sweeping, dream-like
electro-acoustic soundscapes that help the album drift by in an
almost effortless fashion.
Clearly buoyed by the presence of frequent Radiohead collaborator,
Nigel Godrich, on production detail, Talkie Walkie is an
altogether more accessible affair, which quietly entices you to
listen to it more and more.
And dont be surprised to find many of the tunes cropping
up as the backdrop to movie soundtracks, or TV montages (much
as many of the tracks on Moon Safari did), such is the
nature of their appeal.
Alone in Kyoto, especially, has already been picked up
by director, Coppola, for use in Lost
in Translation, and anyone who has seen that film will find
it difficult to displace the memory of a lonely Scarlett Johansson
walking through a Japanese temple during the scene it is used
in. The track is as serenely beautiful as the scene is viscerally
striking, and the two compliment each other perfectly (could it
be that Coppola provides the useful inspiration behind much of
Airs best work?).
Elsewhere, the current single, Cherry Blossom Girl, finds
Air at their most commercially viable, while still clinging on
to their French roots. It is an idyllic tune; not so much spectacular,
as quietly affecting and hopelessly catchy.
The same can be said for the quirky Alpha Beta Gaga, which
deftly offsets some happy-go-lucky whistling against a slightly
more intimidating backdrop, while that same darkness permeates
the likes of opening track, Venus, and Run, while
making them strangely compelling.
Talkie Walkie isnt without fault, however, given
that the occasional track ventures into the same sort of experimental
territory which has troubled some of their more recent efforts,
but, on the whole, it is an extremely impressive affair, which
has the ability to charm, soothe and inspire in equal measure.
2. Cherry Blossom Girl
4. Universal Traveler
5. Mike Mills
6. Surfin' On A Rocket
7. Another Day
8. Alpha Beta Gaga
10. Alone In Kyoto