Review Summary: "So like a dream, isn't it?" "No, better."Air France - No Way Down
Review by Marzuki
Today my summer starts. Where I live, summer doesn’t just mean sun and sand – it can also border on Sahara level heat.
Fortunately, Air France’s No Way Down
EP is not concerned with tackling that aspect of summer. It chooses instead to bask in the rays of the sun, bouncing through a canopy of trees.
As first track ‘Maundy Thursday’ flickers into existence, we are treated to a clickety clackety typewriter and some smooth, rather regal horns, which lurch back and forth into a leisurely synth/piano sound. It sounds like lying back in the sea, underwater, gazing at the sun.
‘June Evenings’ brings us back up for air, into more joyful horns and some J-poppy vocals, sliding into a melody built on twittering birds. ‘Collapsing At Your Doorstep’ builds a fantastically catchy dance tune out of a strings loop and numerous vocals, starting with an overheard conversation between two children.
Then, ‘No Excuses’ kicks off. This, maybe the best song here, ascends strings, handclaps, bass and vocals to touch the sky itself. The title track is not as exciting or interesting as it by far, but it skitters along amicably enough.
‘Windmill Wedding’ ends things on an ambient note; the song’s strings and piano building over samples (keep an ear open for a horse). Halfway through, a Spanish guitar takes over, leading us on until a church bell rings and the music dies away.
At just under twenty three minutes, No Way Down
is light enough and easily consumed in one leisurely session. If you consider that Air France were from Sweden (at time of writing, they had broken up in March ‘12), where sun is a rare commodity, then it makes you listen to the music differently.
While these snippets of electronica are not entirely fantastical, at the very least they are filtered through layers of nostalgia and longing. No Way Down
is the sound of summer desperately grasped and lived, and this makes it a fantastic record; not just for summer, but every other season as well.