Summer Killed Us EP

Written by: TL on 14/03/2012 14:15:15

When I was recently attending the concert with The Maccabees in Vega, Copenhagen I also had the good fortune to catch warm-up act AIR BAG ONE, whose debut EP "Summer Killed Us" was recently released and presented to me as a reviewing-opportunity, and while it certainly offers a soft sound that tip-toes the fringes of our usual areas of coverage, I have decided upon listening to it that it is good enough for me to want to review it anyway.

Now, AIR BAG ONE (their capitalisation, not mine) are a trio of very hip looking French gentlemen, who on "Summer Killed Us", present the world with a brand of experimental indie pop that follows up nicely on trends laid down by the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and Foster The People. The instrumentation consists mainly of the guitar work of guitarist/singer 'Jips' and guitarist/keyboardist/singer 'Loris', the latter's various keyboard sounds and the drumming of sticksman/singer 'Cyp', yet the band also shamelessly apply horns and sampled bass lines and such to enrichen the texture of their soundscape. And yes, they all sing, with Loris mostly taking the lead with a cool, laid back chest voice that sounds like a blend of Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) and Sameer Gadhia (Young The Giant), and the others joining in for sexy falsetto harmonies that remind me of Empire Of The Sun and Vinnie Who.

The product is lightweight and playful, almost tragically cool to listen to, yet there's a sense of soulfulness and romanticism hiding just underneath the surface of the four songs that make up "Summer Killed Us". With the exception of 'title' track "Summer Killed Me", all of them are immediately catchy, with especially the leading single "Whatever You Want" grabbing for your attention and urging your body to slide into some smooth moves the second it's quick opening tempo is arrested by its first vocal lines. Lazier tunes like "2 Days Picnic" and "Sweet England" are not far behind however, coming through impressively in the way they gradually build up their layers before arriving gracefully at their equally catchy choruses.

What's really most convincing about "Summer Killed Us" however, besides the fact that it consistently showcases elegant songwriting, is that when listening to AIR BAG ONE, they don't sound like a band that are only on their first EP, one or two albums behind the most hyped bands in the genre right now. Rather they sound like such a rare thing as a band who have done extensive amounts of leg work before putting out their first record, so that even here, they sound smooth as hell and primed to go places. I cannot impress upon you how delightful this is to a reviewer who handles piles and piles of demos and debuts whose main flaws can all be blamed on their parent bands having been too eager to release something. And that's the essential observation to make here; that even if songs like "Whatever You Want" and "Sweet England" don't come off albums that have recently battled for chart positions with Foster The People or Two Door Cinema Club, they certainly could have fooled me.


Download: Whatever You Want, Sweet England, 2 Days Picnic
For The Fans Of: Two Door Cinema Club, Foster The People, Vampire Weekend, Empire Of The Sun

Release Date 27.02.2012
Citizen Koum Records

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