Air Traffic | Fractured Life (Astralwerks)

cd_air-traffic.jpgFractured Life  is gritty Brit-pop, indie rock, dance-inducing, upbeat pop, mellow, reflective, soothing AAA…







There’s nothing wholly original or new on British quartet Air Traffic’s debut. It’s neither earth-shattering nor consciousness-altering. But it’s 100% enjoyable and addictive, drawing you in from the first notes of lead-in number "Come On" and not letting go until the final strains of the title track have faded.

Yes, I love this CD, and with just 12 songs now count myself an avid Air Traffic fan. And yeah, maybe I feel my life is a little richer for the listening experience. (Is that melodramatic?)

Fractured Life  is gritty Brit-pop ("I Like That"), indie rock ("Come On"), dance-inducing, upbeat pop ("Just Abuse Me"), mellow, reflective, soothing AAA ("No More Running Away"), contemplative acoustic interlude ("Empty Space"), soaring, anthemic epoch ("Time Goes By," "Your Fractured Life").

"Charlotte" has uber-catchy single written all over it, matching the intensity of The Hives with all the best of the recent crop of Brits: spot-on Kaiser Chiefs, high-energy Cribs, even first-album Hard-Fi. "Just Abuse Me," too, has the potential to make the transition from indie radio to alternative; the sparse, bouncing piano and hard-hitting, toe-tapping refrain will have you dancing at your desk.

Add to these songs such as "Shooting Star"—soaring, uplifting, with Chris Walls’ strong vocals and gorgeous falsetto—and you know this band is more than just an enjoyable listen. That, and the fact that the band members—in addition to Walls (vocals, piano, guitar) are David Jordan (drums), Jim Maddock (bass) and Tom Pritchard (guitar)—are each just 21 years of age. Much room for growth and true mind-blowing talent there.

The title track ends with the repeated plea, "Please don’t let me down." Fifteen minutes of silence later (my only complaint here; really, aren’t we over the need for hidden tracks?), we’re serenaded (unnecessarily) with three minutes of an unnamed instrumental track; better to have ended with the supplication, methinks, when the mood is high, the satisfaction higher, and the listener’s only response can be, "I won’t."

Over the 12 listed tracks herein, Air Traffic more than return the favor, keeping the quality high and never letting down. A | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: The Kooks, Athlete, Supergrass

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About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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