Air France - No Way Down
Air France hail from Stockholm, Sweden, obviously a place of tranquillity and reason if this release is anything to go by. Comprised of friends, Joel and Henrik, Air France combine Balearic sensibilities with an astounding array of pop hooks, leaving many to see traces of St Etienne in their work (think more their remix adventures than recorded output).
In the mid 90’s, the Balearic sound was literally bludgeoned to death by its own popularity. Every-bloody-one was at it, from bedroom DJ’s to advertising jingle hounds; the world was awash with bird tweets, the sound of running water, Ibiza compilations and a dull bass throb. Thankfully, the obsession dwindled, the squatters moved out and the professionals were left to re-invent and re-establish a credibility. This is something that Air France have done with aplomb.
From start to finish, there’s plenty to love in ‘No Way Down’, the music that inhabits it feels completely at home in its surroundings. ‘June Evenings’ is full of luscious keys that swarm over relaxed drums, an understated vocal breezes around in the background along with the gentle pulse of the bass. It's sublime electronic wizardry that is sure to be the soundtrack to many peoples summer, a sonic slab of Prozac if ever there was one.
A definite highlight of the album, ‘No Way Down’ samples the Happy Mondays ‘Hallelujah’, the vocal weaving its way between ambient grooves, pan pipes and a driving bass line - Shaun Ryder has never sounded so relaxed and at ease with the world. Light break beats and soaring keys announce the arrival of ‘Collapsing At Your Doorstep’, summing itself up with its “sort of like a dream isn’t it?/no better” vocal loop that floats in and out of the track, begging to be remembered, and succeeding. ‘Never Content’ and ‘No Excuses’ head the best of the rest, with the latter demonstrating the pairs ability to create lush pop soundscapes that refuse to be ignored.
Remember those balmy summer evenings that we don’t seem to have anymore? The sun just going down, the smell of a barbeque still lingering in the air? This is the perfect music to soundtrack those final moments of the day. So, when the hotter days arrive and you find yourself dragging out the barbeque, remember Air France, let them add a slice of the Balearics to your evening, you'll love them for it.