Air are one of many artists whose debut album turned out to be their career defining effort. It's sad to think they'll never top that or ever come close as it's a masterpiece of the genre. After having said that though, Air remain a group I'm never afraid to keep coming back to. Release after release they have still maintained a certain quality to their material even if falling down in comparison to the great Moon Safari. Now 5 albums in it's time to see what Pocket Symphony brings to the table.
Rarely do Air albums seem to run to far off the suggested track they have come to be known as taking. Pocket Symphony is no exception, following in similar footsteps of their previous works. Maybe this is what irks some fans, but I'm always content hearing new material even if it's not too much of a departure. They always offer such tangible and luscious tracks, so soothing, even cathartic depending on the listener. "Spacemaker" sets the familiar tone, whilst the piano heavy "Once Upon a Time" begins the trip into Pocket Symphony. Britpop icon Jarvis Cocker joins the French duo for "One Hell of a Party" a title that may have you slightly confused. "Napalm Love" is a lively Air track which remains catchy from start to finish. "Photograph" is as mystifying as it is intriguing with synthesizers and pianos dueling continuously. "Mer Du Japon" begins with a taste of a bass and piano combination until leading us into a storming swirl of brilliance as the intro climaxes into verse. The rest of the album continuing in a similar fashion.
Many critics and fans may pan this release for sticking to the same template, forgetting that Air are the masters of their field, whatever you want to call it. The album gives a sense of feeling that I can never find in other artists. I know that whenever I visit Air, whichever release it is I can always find that sense of feeling. Pocket Symphony may not be their most impressive record to date but it sure fills a certain void. It's a pleasant and elegant trip, a trip Air never fail to take you on.