Air - Love 2

2009-10-07 | |

France is always the first place to look for good lo-fi and electronica. The country has given us the wonders of haute-cuisine, two competing automotive companies, and a plethora of poptastic electro groups like Justice, Daft Punk, and Kavinsky. They all sound the same though, while Air are slightly different.

As their sixth studio album, Love 2 has little nuances crammed into it that make it just a little bit more than the average French electronica album; more than just another clone of the Daft Punk sound. Deep within its recesses are sounds that emanate and fizz, effervescently, inside your head. There is slight, ever so slight, discordance places; but, there is so much more than that.

Throughout the album, I knew I was listening to Air; though, not exactly the Air that brought us Sexy Boy. It was more like an Air that managed to morph its style, from a lo-fi-esque hum, to a Beck-esque performance. If you've ever picked up Beck's The Information, then, you'll get what I mean. It has all the qualities of a good album.

But, like all Air albums, its never been full of things to get you moving and grooving. It's like a Moby album; the songs are good in their own way, but, they don't get you feeling it. There are some, like Do The Joy, and Tropical Disease, that, in their own ways, made me bob my head like a Beatnik at a poetry recital, especially when the pan-pipes kicked in on the latter. For the most part though, every song sounds like it should have been on the Final Fantasy 8 soundtrack.

The only thing with this album that bugs me is that it's all peaks and troughs. It tends to happen a lot with Air, and similar bands (Moby, Beck, Menomena) where you get a good album, with some strong songs; but they're always interspersed with fairly lame, droning misery. Air have never really been the "pop-music for pop-music's sake" kind of band; and that shows in how they make each song speak for itself, not as a collective.

Confused? Take Daft Punk's seminal album: Discovery. It was one big concept, and it flowed. Take Justice's Cross. Again, it was conceptual and it flowed. Even Kavinsky's first EP flowed. With Love 2, it's more like jolts; peaks and troughs on the open ocean. You're along for the voyage, and the view is amazing; the sounds are also really good. But, you never know if the next wave is going to capsize your interests or not. All you can do with this album is pray that you can keep your head above water until some driftwood comes floating past to save you.

Overall: 6/10 - It's a good album. I cannot stress that enough. It's just not a collective feeling; it's more of a collection, of mini-albums.

Top Track: Tropical Disease

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