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From the creators of the classic albums "Moon Safari" and "Talkie Walkie", Air deliver a career masterpiece, their most seductive and accomplished work to date.
Features guest vocals by Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy).
Includes the single "Once Upon A Time".
Truthfully it's been some time since Air's Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunkel could truthfully be said to be pop musicians, but their fourth album Pocket Symphony journeys further from the pop firmament than ever before. Slow, stately songs built around the tick of electronic drums, the trill of vintage synthesisers, and somewhat unexpectedly, some traditional Japanese instruments the koto, a Japanese floor harp, and the banjo-like shamisen it's an album apparently more concerned with texture and mood than crafting catchy pop fromage.
Certainly, it often does it well: 'Mayfair Song' locks into a dazed, lightly cosmic groove oddly reminiscent of Talk Talk circa Spirit Of Eden, all purposeful piano and moody, drifting bass, while the blissful 'Photograph' sees angelic vocals submerged within a tide of shimmering strings and trilling chimes. For the most part, vocals are fairly sparse, but there are two guest spots: the first from Jarvis Cocker, who murmurs like Scott Walker with a sore head through 'Hell Of A Party', and the second from The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, who invests 'Somewhere Between Waking And Sleeping' with an impressive melancholy soul. At first, it sounds slight, but carry Pocket Symphony with you, and feel it slowly work its magic. -Louis PattisonSee all Product description
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Joby Talbot who normally works with Neil Hannon from Divine Comedy adds some of his string-arranging magic. Only Jarvis Cocker's rather laboured vocals fail to really add much and seem to stand too far out from the mix to work as well as they might. To be honest, you don't buy an Air record for the text or for flashy vocals. Jarvis C is trying too hard.
Air offer you a laid back techno-melancholy. It's the instruments and melodic elements that do the work. The vocals take back seat, at least until Jarvis is let in front of the Sennheiser. Once past Mr Cocker's overwrought exhalations, the album revs up with "Napalm Love" which, for Air, sounds almost aggressive. And it stays good to the last drop.
So, in short, this is good one, a particularly good one.
My advice would be to save your money on this one and go out and buy Charlotte Gainsbourg's 5:55 album, which was written and produced by AIR, and is more of a melodical AIR effort than this patchy piece of work.