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Album review: Air's 'Love 2'

October 6, 2009 |  6:11 pm
This album review originally appeared on the Chicago Tribune's Turn It Up blog.

Air A decade ago, when Air was delivering its extraordinary debut, "Moon Safari," the notion of French pop was a punch line. Since then, there's been a gold rush of distinctive French music made by Daft Punk, Cassius, Phoenix, M83, Mellow, Justice and others. Air is still at it, with Nicolas Godin and JB Dunckel continually refining their delicate matrix of electronic cool, vocal androgyny and silken melody.

The immediacy of "Moon Safari" is lacking on the duo's fifth studio album, "Love 2," with a couple of exceptions: the space-age lullaby "Sing Sang Sung" and the propulsive mantra "Be a Bee." But the rest is more than just the idle purr of background synthesizers. Godin and Dunckel patiently array pastel-colored textures and then trace graceful melodies across them like Renaissance artisans.

"Love 2" is not a make-out album in the traditional sense. It's about the love of silence, stillness, of being a conscious human being and watching the world float by.

--Greg Kot

"Love 2"
Three and a half stars