Talkie Walkie



by Scott Herren USER (42 Reviews)
January 21st, 2005 | 46 replies

Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Released: 2004

After disappointing fans with their followup to Moon Safari, 2001's 10,000 Hz Legend, Air was more determined to release another ambient masterpiece with Talkie Walkie, and to do that they had to abandon the over experimentation, and go the more listless, less ambitious route.

Talkie Walkie is an ambient dance record which exists on a seperate plane than it's peers. The album is minimalistic, and spacey, and Air is able to use that as an asset rather than a hinderance, as every single sound is critical to the feel of the song. The songs lack depth, and many can be written off as pretty pop tunes, but there is something special in the music that puts them in another strata when it comes to electronic pop.

John-Benoit Dunckel - Keyboard, Vocals
Nicolas Godin - Guitar, Vocals
Jessica Banks - Vocals
Jason Falkner - Bass
Lisa Papineau - Vocals
Joey Waronker - Percussion

The album starts with one of the stronger songs in "Venus". It is driven by a slow, paced, plodding guitar, spacey synths, and whispered harmonized vocals. The vocals on this song are so beautiful, and make for one of the prettiest songs that I have ever heard, and a great intro to the album. The lyrics are very much a love song with lines like "You could be from Venus, and I could be from Mars. We could be together. Love us forever." This song builds to epic proportions, but all along it is such a simple song.

The second song on the album is the amazing "Cherry Blossom Girl". It has a very nice acoustic guitar line, and spacey electronic percussion. The vocals are really high and whispered for each line of the verse and then it is followed by a dreamy "Cherry blossom girl" line. The listlessness of the song is what makes it so good, also the flute in the chorus is very nice. This is one of my all-time favorite songs.

From the listless to the experimental the next song is "Run". It is very sterile feeling with every noise seemingly artificial including the vocals. The verse is very effects laden on the vocals, then the chorus is just the word "run" sampled over and over. There is a nice choir section on the second chorus, but the song isn't as great as the previous two, but still not skipable either.

"Univeral Traveler" is a very nice dreamy song. It combines a change up in vocal styles, I believe this is Godin on vocals for this song and that is why. It is nice though, and the acoustic guitar lends sort of a more organic feel to the song that I like despite the obvious electronic percussion. The dreamy backing vocals come in right before the 2 minute mark and are nice. There is a nice electronic melody solo thing near the midpoint of the song. The French accent really makes it catchy when he sings the words "universal traveler". Overall, this song is another great success.

"Mike Mills" is an instrumental piece that relies on a very nice piano melody, and is a pretty strong song, there just isn't alot to say about it. The next song however, "Surfing on a Rocket" is probably the most well known Air song as it was featured in a commercial and also was a single that was played on MTV from time to time. It has a nice little guitar riff, and keyboard part, and dreamy vocals as always. This is a wonderfully crafted piece and a good choice for a single.

"Another Day" really doesn't do an awful lot to me. It is really just a mediocre song, that may be a highlight of another album, but on an album this great, it just gets lost amid the other great songs. The same can not be said about "Alpha Beta Gaga". This song is the most fast paced song on the album. It has a wonderful guitar riff and then what sounds like whistling with some bouncy sounding percussion. The whistling melody drives the song for a bit then it is joined by some handclaps. Later the song goes into just percussion, and finally some strings are added with the whistling part gone. At the 2:45 mark there is either an acoustic guitar or banjo or something that leads into the whistling part again. All of this together creates a fabulous instrumental piece that is really different from the rest of the album.

"Biological" is really a song that grows on you after a while. The first couple of times I listened to it it wasn't very memorable because it is just kind of a pretty song that seems to lack a definative hook, but upon further listens and paying more attention to detail I realize the beautiful blending of instruments, and the wonderfully crafted lyrics. This went from one of my forgetables, to one of my favorites on the album.

"Alone in Kyoto" is a pop gem. This song was featured in the movie "Lost In Translation", and is really a wonderful piece for a film. It shows more of the film score side that Air put into the Virgin Suicides soundtrack. There are vocals, but they really are just there to add another instrument to the song as they lend no lyrics, but just a nice percussion. This is a soft dreamy song like much of the album, and it is easy to just start daydreaming when this song is playing. It is really lovely, and the part with the piano near the end is a great comedown for the album.

Notable Songs
"Cherry Blossom Girl"
"Universal Traveler"
"Surfing on a Rocket"
"Alpha Beta Gaga"
"Alone in Kyoto"

Recommended for fans of:
Boards of Canada
Massive Attack

This is a very enjoyable album, and one of my favorites of the year. It was nominated for the Short List Music Prize, and rightly so. It is an album that is sure to put anyone in a good mood, and I really can't understand anyone not liking it.

Recent reviews by this author
Royksopp Melody A.M.Metric Old World Underground, Where Are You Now
Ride NowhereClearlake Cedars
The Walkmen Bows + ArrowsJamiroquai A Funk Odyssey
user ratings (324)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 22nd 2005


Good review. I honestly haven't heard anything from this album yet, but after I was impressed by Moon Safari, I'll get around to check this out very soon.

January 22nd 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

Surfin' on Rocket is marvelous

February 7th 2005


"The album starts with one of the stronger songs in "Venus". It is driven by a slow, paced, plodding guitar, spacey synths, and whispered harmonized vocals. The vocals on this song are so beautiful, and make for one of the prettiest songs that I have ever heard"

i totally agree. great album.

April 22nd 2005


Alpha Beta Gaga is an excellent song. It never went the direction I thought it would... plus it's catchier than a worm on a hook.

Excellent album, though maybe not for everybody. (Especially those mainstream types)

Natalie Portman
July 9th 2005


Best album of '04 IMO

September 9th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty darn good album, been listening to it all day, its just so mellow, puts me in a pensive mood.

December 21st 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

I've been infatuated by this band as of late. I picked this up last week and I still have mixed thoughts. The album has some really weak and really strong points, it's hard to listen to all the way through.

"Alone in Kyoto" is probably my favorite track, either that or the opener.

Great tbt review.

February 21st 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I actually prefer Talkie Walkie to Moon Safari by far. It just seems to hit so many more dynamics and different sounds.

And of course, Rocket, Biological, and Kyoto are the best.This Message Edited On 02.21.06

April 4th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I've only heard the album once so far, I love it, but right now it's only getting a 4, but i'm not giving it a rating here, because it seems like one of those albums that has to sink in and grow on you.

Alpha Beta Gaga Is such a masterpiece.

April 7th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

okay, this album has officially grown on me much.

Cherry Blossom Girl is a masterpiece.

the only track I don't like is another day.

and one more thing...


If she was on this album it'd be a 5.

April 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I fell in love with Mike Mills the first time I heard it. This is definitely one of their stronger albums, and I prefer it to Moon Safari also. Venus is a mad song, but i didn't like Cherry Blossom Girl as much as everyone else- maybe cos it was so hyped compared to all the other songs.

December 7th 2006


I've only heard Venus, Alpha Beta Gaga, and Cherry Blossom Girl, but those are three excellent tracks. Unfortunately, I doubt this could hold up to Moon Safari for me, undoubtedly my favorite electronica album of all time

January 7th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Brilliant follow-up, on a par with the mighty Moon Safari IMO.

I like the part right at the end of the album - the warm sounds fading to the sound of waves lapping a shoreline. Every time I hear it I kinda sigh and go "Ahhhhh......"

La Revolucion
March 24th 2007


Alright I've seen this band's name spelled "AIR" and "Air". Which one is right?

Apocalyptic Raids
March 25th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The only reason it's spelt AIR sometimes is because that's how it appears on the album art and such. I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be capitalised all the time.

that would look stupid anyway, like idiots who write "MetallicA".


March 25th 2007


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Band's second best.

March 26th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I prefer Moon Safari and Pocket Symphony over this. Sometimes this just gets a little too poppy.

Apocalyptic Raids
April 9th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Moon Safari is better, but I much prefer this to Pocket Symphony.

November 24th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

the more i listen to this the more it grows on me

August 3rd 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

"Run" is probably the coolest song ever made.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2020
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy