Air – Talkie Walkie

AirTalkie Walkie (Astralwerks)

A pair of Parisians massaged their way into the musical canon five years ago with the landmark next-millenium soul album. Moon Safari was so affecting because on the brink of Y2K and fears of apocalyptic terror, it provided a window to a gentler, serene vision of what might come once the ball dropped on the old era. Under pressure to match such feats on subsequent releases, Air fell short—leaving romantics everywhere wondering if Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicholas Godin had made their full impact with one album. Each release brought about drastic change, leaving Safari fanatics with perennial Air pocket pickers Zero 7 to fulfill any desires for the group’s old sound. On their latest album the group reverses that pattern—Talkie Walkie returns to what made Safari such a well-received effort.

For the first time, the group has taken vocal duties entirely upon themselves, aiding the consistency on Talkie Walkie‘s ten tracks. On “Venus,” the vocals melt into the song’s background—cavernous gospel drumming very much reminiscent of Doves’ The Last Broadcast masterpiece “Satellites.” On “Venus” and other tracks, notably “Cherry Blossom Girl” and “Biological,” transmissions are sent through a prism, reappearing on the other side in shades of Loveless. Walls of sounds wash over the body in increments like waves from an echolocation device.

Talkie Walkie is as familiar as a favorite blanket, but—with help from Nigel Godrich—Air jars the calm with disorienting noise, such as the delayed keyboard stabs that slice through the verses of “Ran.” The result is something as painfully beautiful as it is frightening and alone. Talkie Walkie is addictive like the feel of soft, new lips. This is for the weak of heart.

9 thoughts on “Air – Talkie Walkie”

  1. I’ve only had a chance to grok the first half of “Talkie Walkie”, but it rocks my world. Recommended listening.

  2. My introduction to Air was this morning – my station played “Sexy Boy” (Boys?). It had such a light feeling with an underlying bass buzz I just loved; it was singlehandedly responsible for my tardiness to work.

    Can I say I finally breathed Air this morning? No, you’d kill me….

  3. “on subsequent releases, Air fell short”? Well, that’s one way to put it. Or, you could say after the absolutely classic that Moon Safari is, they released a very good soundtrack album (containing only one actual song — hardly a point of criticism, since it was a sountrack, after all) and then an absolutely wretched, thoroughly unlistenable second album. But yeah, Talkie Walkie is a solid first step down their road to redemption: it’s damn good.

  4. “yes no doubt moon safari was one of their greatest releases but why do people not pay any attention to 10000hz legend.to say that electronic performers fails to live up to any of their previous tunes would be folly!Air are all about creativity and not about conforming and being stuck with their original style of music.And i only mentioned electronic performers but there are many others tracks on the album that are beautiful so please if you are a first time listener do not be put of by all the bad 10000hz reviews!”

  5. So what does Air really sound like? Can you compare them to anyone? I’m more of an classic indie/classic punk guy but wouldn’t mind broadening my collection a bit. I have the latest album by The Books, which I like. Is this Air album anything like that?

  6. Skip this album. If you want to broaden your horizons into the electronic do it with Massive Attack, Portishead, Doves and others. This album is pretty bland, even for acoustic layered electronica.

  7. Massive Attack and Doves make great records, but what makes them interesting to me is their sense of tension, paranoia, or listless melancholy. Air are a much different beast, they kind of do their own downtrodden yet urban-hip-fromage thing. I know it’s a lousy description, but I have to say it: Air sound like what you might expect a French band to sound like. Sophisticated. Cool. Detached. Almost, but not quite, uninterested. They have that French “je ne sais quoi”.

  8. ugh… pointless album, got the album cuz i was curious, waste of my money. I jsut gave it away and put on the stooges and hope somebody vomit on these unicorns.

  9. Sure, they will probably never top Moon Safari again, but come on, Talkie Walkie IS good, mellow, relaxed and, admit it, unique!

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