Review: Airs, "Rainclouds Over the Remains of Hope"

Okay, this has been available for free download from the Airs Bandcamp page for a while, but for good reason, I didn't want to listen to it until I had the CD (from Music Ruins Lives) in my hands. Well, I fucked up, because if I had downloaded and listened to it before I posted my top albums of 2010, it would have cracked the top ten, and maybe the top five.

It's going to be difficult not to overstate how good this is, but I'll avoid my penchant for what gets perceived as hyperbole and get to the review...

For me, this is the opus of the Airs catalog thus far; it defines what this band is all about, as it includes everything the band does so damn well and even introduces some new sounds to their repertoire. Earlier Airs material seemed centered on the aggressive aspect of the music, and while the aggression is still there at times, it's been dialed back in favor of atmosphere and mood. And this album has plenty of both. 

This is highly textured music, replete with dense atmospherics and washes of fuzzed-out guitars, but it's not over-produced. Through the entire album it feels as if much of the music was improvised, which just tells you that this is genuine and sincere music.  The mood is one of melancholy, but it shouldn't drag you down, because it's still energetic and the melodies are just too damn beautiful to be saddened by. It possesses a lot of the qualities of those great Sonic Youth records from the eighties and nineties, but has more emotion invested in it than Sonic Youth.  Rest assured, you won't get bored with this. A lot of experimentation going on ("Never Without" still has me scratching my head), but it never sounds contrived or calculated.

A lot of bands are trying to do this sort of thing now, but most are failing. Airs, to me, has always been on the cutting edge of this amalgam of metal, post-rock, shoegaze, drone, and noise. They do it as well as, and at many times, better than, any other. This album is going to be tough for them to top; the bar has been raised yet again, and it only makes me anxious to hear what's coming next.

You should really get the physical release of this. The artwork is so perfectly fitting of the music, and the liner notes have printed lyrics. There are only a few copies left at Music Ruins Lives, so you should get it now while you still can.  I give my personal guarantee that will not regret it.  While you're there, get the Lonesummer/Planning for Burial Split CD if you haven't already. So, so good, and a necessary addition to your library if there ever was one.  Get both CDs for only $15.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this band is pure shit.