Talkie Walkie is a backwards trip for me, as it represents one of the early electronic-influenced albums that I had the chance to get my hands on. To this day I consider Air’s Talkie Walkie, Röyksopp’s The Understanding and Daft Punk’s Discovery to be the culprits (in a good way, of course) of the change in my listening habits towards electronic music, a journey that began about 6 years ago and have brought nothing but incredible and amazing experiences, as well expanding my mind to new and exciting horizons.
I don’t know if this is just me being biased, but every Air album has this inherent frenchness to it, something that I believe can be found on many other french artists work (Lisa Papineau, Shine, just to name a few), but something very particular about Talkie Walkie is that it features a certain amount of japanese inspired moments. Most of it has to do with the fact that Air decided to provide a few tracks to the soundtrack of the movie Lost in Translation, which as many of you may know and without going into much detail, takes place in Japan, but wisely enough, the album isn’t a collection of cheesy japanese sounding tracks just for the sake of an otherwise completely unrelated movie. Just to set the score straight, the songs where you will notice such influence is Cherry Blossom Girl and Alone in Kyoto, and even in the middle of those songs you will realize that it’s just Air being clever, they stayed true to their style while at the same time gave us something to imagine what would be like to have a couple of french musicians doing music inspired in Japan.
Taking a closer look at the album as a whole, I find it to be very well balanced. It has its share of instrumental tracks, as well another good portion of vocalized tracks. Truth to be told, this isn’t the type of album you look for if you want some deep and inspiring lyrics, as Talkie Walkie tends to use lyrics just as one way to adorn the songs, they don’t seem to have a meaning on their own other than fill the gaps in between songs. Of course, this doesn’t prevent us from enjoying songs like Surfin’ On A Rocket, which is quite amusing and is almost like if it forces you to sing to it every time you stumble upon it.
The biggest achievement though, is this kind of trance, this induced mental state that very few artists are capable of. Air’s music is know for being elegant, unafraid of incorporate their many diverse influences and wrap it into this electronic attire that anyone can enjoy. I know it sounds silly (and even elitist), but Air music gives you the impression that you’re actually acquiring better taste in music just for liking it, and I know that it is a dumb statement, but I had that thought a couple of times in the past.
I struggled to come across other bands that could evoke the same set of feelings this album happens to touch, but I have to admit that I came up short. And while Air purists will disregard Talkie Walkie in favor of the mighty Moon Safari, this isn’t by any means an inferior effort. I’ve heard before complains about this being just another cheesy french album, but oh boy, you will be surprised when you realize what is in front of you.