Caroline Records, 1998
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/23/2005
The 1990s were a decade that saw a good deal of creative variations of conventional dance music. With weirder manifestations of disco music, like electronica and trip-hop, this popular genre of music -- especially its newer forms -- found a place in the predominantly rock music-dominated alternative music scene. Breaking boundaries of conventional dance music, non-conformist underground pop/dance bands -- the likes of Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers, and Prodigy -- have revealed or have given birth to an evil doppelganger of popular dance music, which has made this kind of music bury its head in the ground with shame.
With dance music gaining unconventional facets, the French band Air, too, like its confreres, has touched up dance with its own unique style, adding a rather laid-back and drunken countenance to it that is very uncharacteristic of this form of music. Moon Safari doesn't quite fit under the rubric of any of the popular forms of contemporary dance music. It is laid-back, and it has a lot of retro psychedelic elements fused in the tipsy and drowsy atmosphere of its songs. It is interestingly groggy, painfully slow... and maddeningly addictive.
This album is like one of those taverns where you love to visit every night, get shamelessly drunk, and have the worst hangover the next day. It is as if you want to visit the place again and again, just to enjoy the messed-up state of your head the next morning.
The album begins with the very sensual "La Femme D'Argent"; the first seven-odd minutes of the album tickles you at just the right spots and puts you at your sensuous best, and this is just the beginning! Sober, yet embarrassingly drunk, chaste yet fraught with a feeling of concupiscence, the rest of Moon Safari will get even the most ardent teetotaler drunk. "Sexy Boy," "All I Need," and "Kelly, Watch The Stars!" come across as the standouts of the album.
Moon Safari, in all its mysteriousness, is an album of sin in its subtlest forms. It is quiet, deceptively easygoing, sensitive and sensuous -- it is beautiful!