MGF Reviews Air – Pocket Symphony


Air – Pocket Symphony
Astralwerks (3/6/07)
Electronic/Experimental

“How strange is your love? How warm is your love?”—the question begged on Air’s fourth full-length release (save for The Virgin Suicides soundtrack), Pocket Symphony—sinks our hearts into the world we know only Air can produce.

Pocket Symphony uses much of the same Japanese theme that was found on “Alone in Kyoto,” Air’s contribution to the Lost in Translation soundtrack. The new album takes conventional instruments and weaves them amongst classical Japanese instruments. Nicolas Godin apparently took some of the time since their last recording, Talkie Walkie, to learn 2 new instruments; the Japanese floor harp and a 3-stringed instrument that resembles a banjo.

While most of the vocal tracks are done by members Godin and JB Dunckel themselves, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp lends his unmistakable breathy vocals to “Hell of a Party”, a true gem of a track. The new album also includes a cameo vocal appearance by the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon; however, the most upbeat song, “Mer du Japon”, also happens to be the best of the set.

While Air has some poppy singles like “Sexy Boy” and “Surfing on a Rocket” on their résumé, on Pocket Symphony they are doing what they know best; downtempo, melancholic, ambient love songs. Of all of their releases, this album just happens to house the most tracks of that nature.

While they aren’t breaking any new ground here, as the title, Pocket Symphony indicates, I will most certainly be finding enjoyment listening to this on my MP3 player while I ride the “L” on my way to work.

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