Part of the Countdown to Pocket Symphony Series
After being somewhat let down by 10000 Hz Legend, I’d have thought that my interest in Air would had wained, but when Talkie Walkie was released in 2004 I was surprised by how eager I was to get a hold of it. When I did, my surprising anticipation was validated, in spades.
I’ll just come out and say it: Talkie Walkie is a beautiful record. In direct contrast to its predecessor, the whole thing goes down smooth and is way easy on the ears. For 44 minutes, each song is like a tiny massage for your eardrums.
It’s earnest. It’s serious. It’s playful. It’s compelling. It’s heartfelt.
But Air doesn’t accomplish that by hearkening back to their earlier sound. There’s no attempt here to recapture the feeling of Moon Safari or any sideways glances toward retropop. It’s just an expansively rich aural canvass. While I don’t think it quite surpasses Moon Safari comes damn close though, it does one-up it by having nothing but four and five star song ratings.
Whereas 10000 Hz Legend could be interpreted in a tongue-in-cheer manner, Talkie Walkie exudes earnestness. This thing has soul.
- Cherry Blossom Girl’s sweet melody infects the brain and its minimalist chorus makes sure it stays there.
- Surfing on a Rocket is social and political commentary that’s not only a new level of seriousness for the band but is also one of the best songs in the catalogue. I can’t get enough of that simple guitar riff.
- Alpha Beta Gaga is positively one of the most happy-go-lucky songs I’ve ever heard. It also features one of the most effective uses of a banjo outside of bluegrass.
- And don’t get me started about Universal Traveler; that thing just blows my mind.
Talkie Walkie, without a doubt, is a masterpiece. If you don’t have this one in your collection, you need to go get it. now. If you need some convincing, here are some videos.