In all fairness the bio accompanying this release put me off slightly as it comes off more than a little pretentious and art house. Closing my eyes I saw a lot of student intellectuals with scarves and cardigans and too tight chords/jeans sat round a coffee house discussing the socio-political ramifications of… well you probably get the picture by now, if Pete Doherty got clean and mellow and read the Guardian…
‘The Golden City’ is not what you would probably expect from an album reviewed on The Shaman, it is funky, light, and chirpy and, well for want of a better word, airy. Experimental, instrumental albums are often difficult to absorb as you have to surrender to the music and rely on it to lead you on a journey.
Airpeople manage to do this for the most part, the album is a near forty minute cornucopia of ideas that collide in a satisfying way that at times recalls Mogwai, The Doors and The Mars Volta. It manages to rock in a sublime way and it is obvious that the individuals that make up the Airpeople collective are very talented musicians who have a vision for their craft.
The development of atmospherics is probably the strongest asset of the band. At times they manage to build up the pressure, until the jam that they are locked into feels like it’s going to break and then release themselves into a delightful, blissed out passage that is sweeter than a post coital cigarette after an extremely satisfying shag.As back ground music it is unobtrusive and easy going.
And herein lays the rub. Do you want something to be on to inoffensively play out in the background or do you want something arresting? It is incredibly hard for a band without a vocalist to maintain momentum and keep the listeners attention with no natural structure to come back to the safety of a verse or a chorus or even just some quasi-philosophical lyrical passage and on ‘The Golden City’ you feel at times that the instrumental free form nature of the album means it loses it’s way a little.
It is a fairly harsh criticism to level and comparisons to The Mars Volta and it can be seen as a little unfair as they have the focal point of their vocalist to drag back the attention after indulging in a meandering musical passage but Airpeople need something a little bit extra to help raise their stock in the memorability stakes.
This is a CD at times brimming with great ideas, but lacks a hook to draw you back to it, I must have sat in silence for five minutes before I realised the disc had actually finished which I feel sells them short of their potential.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden