Review Summary: Passable, but then again when has passable been good enough?
Ever since their 1998 debut, watching Air
walk on the slither of a line between their indie-pop foundation and strong post-rock and ambient tendencies has never failed to intrigue. Of course, it hasn't always yielded fantastic results, but the sudden appearance of Talkie Walkie
in 2004 showed that these two Frenchmen still have the capacity for creating great, experimental music. Le Voyage Dans La Lune
sees them delve, once again, into the realm of movie-soundtracks, although most of the music on the LP isn't actually used in the film. It's with this stretch towards creating someone else's atmosphere that we really begin to see Air's
weaknesses, leading to the worst release of their career.
Simply put, Le Voyage Dans La Lune
does not feel like an Air
LP. The casual sleight-of-hand present on their more celebrated works is nowhere to be found, leaving only small patches to remind us that this is not a compilation disk. Where their style is lacking, the tracks lack much in the way of depth: often a little dreary, or maybe just a bit too pretty. The stretchmarks of birthing a new style are left out for all to see, too, with Parade
feeling more at home on a Ratatat
release and a few guitar riffs echoing as far back as Pink Floyd
. In fairness, these blunders (and I say blunders because the resemblance is far too strong to be ignored) are somewhat made up for by the LP's stronger offerings. Seven Stars
sits *just right* between slow, progressive whispers and upbeat, electronic fun; countdown to launch and all. Moon Fever
, similarly, lies unspoken but powerful in its ambiance. Harking back to the duo's more favourable days.
So while certainly not a complete train-wreck, Le Voyage Dans La Lune
nevertheless fails to establish itself. Overall it comes across as a little weak, and as a result it remains easily forgettable. Even the sense of vast space that Air
have previously been able to conjure up is noticeably absent. That this LP is set to accompany a re-release of a classic silent movie only serves to mark its failure as nothing if not a little tragic.