Under Review: Air – Love 2

Eleven years and three albums after their debut, Air undoubtedly run the risk of becoming parodies of themselves on their latest disc, Love 2.  Lucky for Jean-Benoit and Nicolas, all that time and work has left them experts at their craft.  Love 2 might be the duo’s tightest set to date, with only one song clocking in at over five minutes.  In the remaining short bursts of music, Air distills classy electronic pop into bite-sized, condensed packages that establish a groove and put it to rest before its welcome becomes worn out.  That doesn’t mean that they are too busy to have some fun with the songs.  “Be A Bee” meshes a twangy surf guitar with a driving motorik beat, and “Love” employs a samba shuffle to carry its simple message.  The album’s longest song, “Tropical Disease,” is indeed breezy and recalls the boys’ soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides.  In fact, a good portion of Love 2 (along with Air’s other albums) would make for great film music.  Another one of Air’s trademarks, a bevy of breathy female vocalists that are likely cranked out from some lovely French factory, is exercised quite often on Love 2, notably on “Heaven’s Light” and opener “Do The Joy.”  I felt that Air was beginning to tread water with their last album, Pocket Symphony, which relied a little too heavily on famous guest collaborators and overly exotic instruments.  Love 2 is a bit more subtle and focused in its approach: a Theremin here, a hooter there; all without being too showy.  With this album, JB and Nicolas get back to their roots without imitating themselves.  If this is a sign of what’s to come from Air over the next eleven years, then we’re in luck (especially for those of us finishing our great American screenplay).

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~ by E. on October 5, 2009.

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