Air – Love 2 (EMI)
Love 2, Air’s latest offering, arrives two years after the release of Pocket Symphony, and an entire electronic decade since their breakthrough album, Moon Safari: so what’s their latest like?
Fans of the band will notice a distinct departure from their dense, calming trademark sound that originally launched them to stardom, in exchange for something a bit simpler, and more pop; most noticeably apparent in the album‘s fun single, Sing Sang Sung, and the musical mistakes that are Eat My Beat, and Be A Bee. Love 2 is an album with a truly eclectic selection of tracks; So Light is her Footfall, as well as Heaven’s Light wouldn’t sound at all out of place in Moon Safari.
The duo are clearly exploring new avenues of musical style – I certainly never expected the exceptional rocked up electro sounds of Do The Joy to appear on an Air album, nor a track that could easily be a tribute to Kraftwerk, Missing The Light Of The Day. Fans of the band will be glad to hear that their cool lounge electronica has not been absolutely abandoned by the duo, You Can Tell It To Everybody, as well as the simply amazing African Velvet keep the tradition alive and well.
In my opinion the most interesting part of the album, and what is obviously intended to be the centre piece, is the didactic, seven minute long Tropical Disease. The track has the effect of transporting you on its own varying highs and lows, slowly luring you in then taking you completely by surprise with its changes in tempo. For me it is the standout track of the album.
The effects of total creative freedom, vis a vis owning their own studio, and producing their album independently, has manifested itself clearly in Love 2, and while yes, it is a good album, it is not exceptional. A buy for existing fans only, who may be disappointed in the new direction the band have taken. If you’re not already an Air fan, I’d suggest you listen to one of their earlier albums.