Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Air

  • Moon Safari [Source/Caroline, 1998] A-
  • Premiers Symptomes [Astralwerks, 1999] Dud
  • The Virgin Suicides [Astralwerks, 2000] *
  • Everybody Hertz [Astralwerks, 2002] Dud
  • Talkie Walkie [Astralwerks, 2004]
  • Pocket Symphony [Astralwerks, 2007]

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Moon Safari [Source/Caroline, 1998]
As a rock yeoman in good standing, I direct postrock chauvinists to Simon Jeffes's Brian Eno-sponsored Penguin Cafe Orchestra, whose similar (albeit unamplified) hipster kitsch can now be found in the New Age bin. For the nonce, however, the comfy-funk bass, space-age sound effects, and moments of cool femme treacle on this moist piece of patisserie are good-humored enough to win over even an old-ager who remembers when easy listening was worth hating. A-

Premiers Symptomes [Astralwerks, 1999] Dud

The Virgin Suicides [Astralwerks, 2000]
Already de facto soundtrack, they didn't need a real movie to distract them from meaning something ("Ghost Song," "Dirty Trip"). *

Everybody Hertz [Astralwerks, 2002] Dud

Talkie Walkie [Astralwerks, 2004]
Those French, so subversive with their Nissan commercials ("Surfing on a Rocket," "Alpha Beta Gaga"). [unknown]

Pocket Symphony [Astralwerks, 2007]
Even when they're settling for atmosphere, meaning not bothering with moon tunes, Air are too corny for chillout. All they're good for is fromage, which we in Dollarland call cheese--amusing dinner music. And though on 2004's Talkie Walkie they lifted themselves out of the lukewarm miasma that had enveloped them since Moon Safari, Pocket Symphony reverts to the textured beat-and-bassline rifflets of Air ordinaire. Does some mild theme-and-variation justify the title? With these themes, who can remember? What you remember is that both male synth whizzes sing--though note that on the foggiest verbiage, e.g. "burnt-out husk of the morning," the likes of Jarvis Cocker do the dirty work. [unknown: 2.5]