Airs are a band based on both sides of America. One member being in California and the other in Florida, how they get anything done is beyond me. But whatever they're doing, boy, they're doing it right. Airs manage to bridge the gap between post-rock and post-black metal and post-anything else quite effortlessly.
First track "Home" sets up the release perfectly. It contains everything you'd expect from Airs, and more. The guitars are low and fuzzy, the vocals are set back in the mix and lo and behold, some of the tunes are toe tappingly glorious. But don't let that fool you, if you've heard Airs album releases, you'll know that the band are anything but a happy go lucky lot. Their side of this split is, underneath it all, a gloomy affair, full of melancholy and longing. It's beautiful.
"White Pantomime" is a slower number, the drums being the most prominent feature, rolling and doing most of the work. Musically this is probably the most black metal type track on here. Vocally, it's gorgeous. It's a mix that shouldn't work, soaring vocal lines over distorted guitars and blastbeats, but Airs really know how to work the two sides of their identity into a brilliantly cohesive piece.
The final two tracks from Airs are simple, low fi songs. Much shorter in length than the previous two, and still master classes in how to bring your influences into your music and make it fresh and new. "Lucid" is particularly downcast, bringing echoing samples into the soundscape and filling you with an immense unease. It really rounds out the experience and takes you from an initial feeling of happiness to one of sadness and despair.
Lunaire offer two tracks here, the Australian band a little more obvious in their shoegaze tendencies. Their songs are dreamy and wistful, the vocals much more noticeable than on the Airs tracks. They share a low fuzzy sound with the aforementioned band, but "Pale Beneath a Brilliant Sky" doesn't seem as sad even though the music is quite despondent. "Sora no Woto" is a thirteen minute instrumental piece that features delicately shimmering acoustic guitar, heavy bass, both guitar and drum and a sense of optimism. It starts off a tad forlornly but the momentum builds in such a way that your heart is filled with a genuine feeling of hope. Around ten minutes, the electric guitar kicks in. It's distorted and compliments the piano that's heard in these closing minutes wholly. The song ends on a minute of feedback and if you listen closely you can hear birds, it's quiet, but they are there. Divine.
8.0 / 10
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