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coverpic flag US - Pennsylvania - Full Moon 200 - 12/28/12

Sun Airway
Soft Fall
Dead Oceans

Sun Airway returns with the second album, and Soft Fall sort of continues where Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier stopped. Hopefully it'll be as good, or maybe even better. Like I've said before: You can't go wrong with Dead Oceans. Or; can you...... hm, maybe I should pick up and spin Bill Fay's Life Is People once more, then?

Sun Airway is actually songwriter/producer Jon Barthmus, plus a few good helpers. Soft Fall unveils 11 tracks, including the 53 sec intro piece, "Activity 1". Later follows "Activity 2" and "Activity 3"; instrumentals as well. Sun Airway present sparkling and swirling electro-pop. It's sugar-coated, yes, but not too sweet. Yet, this is the sound of eccentric and electric (as well as electronic) dancehall music. A bit of this, and a bit of that. Old, new, borrowed, blue, whatever. Like the label mentions: "...shady shapes of electronic / pop pioneers past and present. Touches of ELO and New Order brush up against hints of modern sounds like M83 and Radio Dept., carried by the subtle breeze of Björk's Homogenic." Or the indeed fitting quote describing Sun Airway's music sounding "...like the lost soundtrack to the next Sofia Coppola film". Listening to Sun Airway is like having hundreds and thousands of tiny, little of bubbles flowing through your head and through your blood veins. Or; millions of pin-pricks all over your skin. It's tickling and a bit annoying, but also rather pleasant. Like having a melodic massage, or Barthmus being a musical physiotherapist.

Well, summing up things after some spins, I think Barthmus has made a better album with Soft Fall. Standout tracks are "Wild Palms", "Laketop Swimmers", "Black Noise", as well as the title track. Not to forget the nifty "Activity 3". Sun Airway is still musically related to Animal Collective, even though Sun Airway is more electronically twisted dream-pop. Or, imagine if Deerhunter, or maybe Atlas Sound had a milder, more dance-oriented little brother.

Soft Fall is falling safely, landing softly. It's a smooth ride, followed by a pleasant dive.

Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Sun Airway article/review: Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier.

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