Air – Love 2 (Virgin) Released 06/10/2009

October 20, 2009 by  


When Parisian duo Air released their 1998 album Moon Safari they were the quintessential avant-garde band. Their eclectic mix of French lo-fi house, shoegaze, R’n’B, jazz and trip-hop was incredibly forward thinking and challenging. It put most British producers to shame and provided the perfect soundtrack for ushering in the new millennium.

The album was and still is an album which holds its own space in time. Unscathed by moving trends or fashions it remains as a vital a record today as it did eleven years ago. So as we lay to rest the current decade and look forward to a new decade of music, you’d hope Air would be the same pioneering duo they once was.

Love 2 unfortunately finds Air treading far too familiar ground. Opener Do the Joy, would easily sound at home on their previous records, with it’s distorted bass-lines, synthesiser backdrops and robotic samples. It’s this immediate sense of familiarity that makes this album so underwhelming. The track, like many on the album, lacks any sense of progression or re-invention and leaves Air sounding like a band completely redundant of fresh ideas

To make things worse, not only do Air fail to progress, but at times there are signs of regression. Love 2 seems to find itself languishing in a state of uniformed mediocrity, all be it a mediocrity created by their own previous work, but still a very ,very mediocre state. Tropical Disease and Sing Sang Sung sound so listless and unchallenging that you’d expect to find them preloaded on the next roll out of Windows Media Player, listed under the genre of inoffensive and bland.

Maybe Air are just a victim of their own success. There are some genuine nuggets of film-noir, avant-garde chic on this album, but it all seems to pale in significance to their earlier ground-breaking and genre defining work.