The blush of excitement that greeted Air's initial forays into bubbly electro-pop soon gave way to blasé boredom when the French duo's sound got a little, shall we say, redundant. Finding an appropriate outlet for their theme-based atmospherics via soundtracking "The Virgin Suicides" and "Lost In Translation" seems to have realigned the two's ability to construct popcraft, and "Talkie Walkie" is refreshing, if not revolutionary. Although the ELO leanings of the opening track, "Venus," are just a bit too cute, when the blippy hooks of "Cherry Blossom Girl" -- part Pizzicato Five, part Bruno Nicolai -- take hold, it's easy to remember why Air seemed so relevant not so long ago. The ease with which they blend ethereal effluvia and pop ephemera is still impressive and, rather than riding the One Note Train to the kingdom of Heard That (cf, Stereolab), "Talkie Walkie" introduces new sounds, tighter structures and an easy playfulness that's perfectly fitting.
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