First things first. Air
have long ago spoken of their desire never to make another ‘Moon Safari’. What would be the point, they’ve said, when their debut album, released six years ago this month, still shifts units every day and can be experienced wafting like some soothing civic scent through malls, lifts and public transport facilities around the world, subliminally serenading shoppers. And anyway, interminable bores Zzzero 7 are back soon with another ‘Moon Safari’ clone…
Admittedly, Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin mentioned this in the spring of 2001 while defending their largely misunderstood second album, ’10,000 Hz Legend’. With that grand opus, Air indulged themselves utterly, fashioning a brave progressive work that many found too turbulent and challenging, especially for sensitive ears seduced by ‘Moon Safari’’s fragrant soft-pop. Certainly, with its complex arrangements and unorthodox sounds, its all-star cast and pretentious imagery, ‘…Legend’ seemed like a concerted effort to bamboozle fairweather fans, to ask, “Are you coming wizzus on zis trip or not?” Indifferent, most simply shrugged and bought Röyksopp’s ‘Melody AM’ instead. It wasn’t quite commercial suicide, just, it transpires, an elaborately faked death.
Now, having killed off their back catalogue through extensive touring and knocked out a soundtrack or two, this remarkable French group, for whom reality is a sketchy memory, return with ‘Talkie Walkie’, their third and, in many ways, best album. Viewed by some as the “make or break” moment ofAir’s career, ‘Talkie Walkie’ should confound the doubters because it delivers sublime Air
-ness on every conceivable level. You could not hope for a more