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The French band Air used their celebrated 1998 album Moon Safari (Astralwerks) to prove that pilfered bachelor-pad grooves and a coolly cerebral handle on irony could be combined to give a shimmering future-pop some human warmth. Three years later, the well-dressed hommes in Mellow attempt the same with a more lysergic version of that undulating sparkle-and-fade, swapping Airís subdued Serge Gainsbourg come-ons for a day-glo battery of retrofitted head-trip-isms and folding them inside the kind of gooey minor-key psychedelia Syd Barrett made with Pink Floyd before he got (completely) lost beyond the gates of dawn.

For most of Another Mellow Spring, the bandís first full-length, they keep up with their countrymen, formulating largely electronic music that, like Airís warm-and-fuzzy exotica, oozes a resolutely organic glow. At their best, as on " Mellow, " they dress up pastoral melodies in organ and space-age synth, breathy vocals, and percolating percussion; at their worst, they let the effects do the talking. But on the incandescent " Sun Dance " they go for baroque, whipping the Beatlesí zigzagging harmonic know-how and the upright pomp of classic English music hall into a froth thatís fitter and happier than the metal machine music its raw materials might suggest.


Issue Date: March 8 - 15, 2001

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