There’s only one way to describe this album – magnificent. This is not just an album album (ie one to be listened and enjoyed without skipping), but also a great collection of individual songs. “Mayfair Song” is simple, yet astonishingly beautiful – my favourite here. Besides that track you have “One Hell of a Party”, with one Jarvis Cocker on lead vocals, an inspired choice as his vocals sit perfectly against the backing track. “Somewhere Between Waking and Sleeping” is both epic and very intimate at the same time, mainly through another fine vocalist, Neil Hannon, bringing a warmth to the piece. “Mer Du Japon” sees a hint of Eastern influence enter the mix, yet this track more harks back to the heights of “Kelly Watch the Stars”.
The album can only be described as the album Air were born to make – it is lush, it is atmospheric, it is simply inspired. There are no even average tracks to speak of, just a whole load of dreamy, lush quality. The main instrument incorporated in many of the tracks is the piano, and how well it is used too! There are strings in places, atmospheric keys in others, acoustic guitars…it sounds very natural, yet very familiarly Air also. Relatively few people manage to find their own identifiable sound, even fewer are able to build from that sound, while still keeping things fresh. This album is a sign their sound has reached maturity, and just like fine wine it is now ready to be savoured. It is contemporary, yet has its roots in traditional songwriting and instrumentation.
A glorious album, and one which will no doubt be claiming accolades come year end, at least if there is any justice that is.