Sun Airway - Soft Fall
After their 2010 debut effort Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier was widely regarded as a pleasant if not essential take on electro-pop in a Merriweather Post Pavillion dominated blog universe, Philly based duo Sun Airway have returned, seemingly even more pleasant and floaty than before. With their debut being tagged along with the likes of Animal Collective, MGMT and m83 (whom incidentally they recently supported on tour), it's understandable that the duo have perhaps attempted to shift in a more classical and intricate direction with this new appropriately titled record, Soft Fall.
Because literally, this album is a soft fall. It's delicate and emotionally whimsical from start to finish, but while these traits that could make an album lack substance or vigour are so apparent, it actually makes for quite beautiful and touching listening. Nothing on the record is direct, the choruses in particular aren't immediately available at all and are largely unmemorable on first listen, but with delving and diligence reveal themselves slowly and majestically under the warm synths Sun Airway cloud their songs with. For example, 'Black Noise's passionate refrain of "Give me give me your voice" is easy to get swept away in and takes a few listens for the desired epic effect to really make itself known.
The album dabbles in what many would refer to as 'Chillwave' on tracks like 'Wild Palms' and 'Laketop Swimmers', with the typical loops and bouncing guitar you might expect from the likes of Toro Y Moi or Ducktails, but with that distinct Sun Airway waywardness and meandering aimed at capturing those bizarre thoughts one might experience in the unholy hours of the morning. Occasionally however, these sounds drift into the realms of boredom; 'Symphony in White No.2' for example is quite angelic but a little bit too saccharine and repetitious.
What you have here in fact is a nifty little pop record shrouded in disguise. Lead singer Jon Barthmus' vocals dictate interesting vocal hooks in an almost Chris Martin like way. The album's first proper song 'Close' is a good example of a hidden pop song, with a synth line that recalls The Cure's 'Inbetween days' mixed over fast drumming and emotive sweetly sung lyrics: "I've never known love like this before," "I try to get close to you." 'New Movements' too is orchestral and grand, the weary emotional vocal refrain of "you explain too much" treads the Coldplay line once again, but manages to escape the manufactured monotony instead coming out much sweeter.
If you like your music unoffensive, or are just looking for some sugary get-away dream pop this is the album for you. It's by no means essential, but provides a lovely listen in most places.