Talkie Walkie (Source/Virgin)
Clay Cornelius: When I was first asked to write this article I assumed this would be a difficult question and that would take hours (maybe even days) for me to come up with an answer. However, when I really started thinking about the music that has shaped my concept of what music should be like there was one album that I can instantly identify as being my most formative.
Air’s Talkie Walkie felt like an asteroid landing on the barren wasteland of my musical landscape when it first hit me. When I first discovered this record in 2006, I had no point of reference for an album that was able to sound like it was being transmitted from a distant planet while somehow being so incredibly human at the same time. Prior to this, I had been listening to a lot of angsty guitar-based music that sounded generally bad & brought much shame to my family (and made me dress like a complete asshole for some reason). I judged bands based on their proficiency at playing the same handful of musical tropes that I had grown accustomed to – until I saw the light and realized that music was allowed to be beautiful.
Talkie Walkie uses melodies, instrumentation & song structures that still feel exciting and inventive almost 20 years later. While there are ethereal vocal melodies and flutes fluttering everywhere on Cherry Blossom Girl, the track is grounded by an acoustic guitar track that sounds like it’s being played in your bedroom. They are masters of this duality – as soon as a song is feeling too heavy the progression will shift to something that immediately lightens it up.
To me, Talkie Walkie is a masterclass in what transcendent, psychedelic music should sound like. I have been listening to this album since high school and it never fails to pull me out of my reality and place me inside of a world that only Air can create. They have informed my taste, expanded my sonic palette and generally improved my life since I discovered their music. In summation – Air is the best band ever, Talkie Walkie is a painfully beautiful record and if you haven’t accepted them into your heart then you are seriously blowing it!
High Morale Talks (and Walks) Air: The Face to Face album is out July 30.