Air France - No Way Down
Record Label: Sincerely Yours
Release Date: June 26, 2008
Swedish duo Joel Karlsson and Henrik Markstedt often remained hidden and secretive during their time as Air France, at least in terms about their progress when creating music. But I guess that that is just one of the things that comes along with being signed to Sincerely Yours, the Swedish-based label created by Henning Fürst and Eric Berglund, former members of The Tough Alliance. Sincerely Yours certainly holds a sense of secrecy about it and focuses on their image as much as their music; selling both music and apparel and in limited quantities, they try to be aesthetically pleasing and impressive. Simply put, Sincerely Yours is cool and Air France fit right in. And while Air France eventually called it quits earlier this year, after spending the last couple of years trying to give us that album that never came, the disappointment from that can never take away from just how good No Way Down is.
No Way Down opens up with "Maundy Thursday", a short instrumental track that sets the tone very nicely. It's almost haunting and it is certainly beautiful. "June Evenings" follows this and begins with the sounds of birds chirping and a woman saying "Spring has arrived early here, a time for lovers. It's as if the season mocks my sadness." The following music responds to this phrase with an overwhelming sense of bright optimism. June, being the first month of summer, has seemed to wash away spring and the sadness felt during it.
The middle portion of this EP contains the songs "Collapsing at Your Doorstep" and "No Excuses", one of the best 8 minutes and 40 seconds of music I heard come out of this past decade. Mostly instrumental, aside from a few phrases, "Collapsing at Your Doorstep" is a truly beautiful song and was the first one to really draw me into the band, it mesmerized me those years ago and has yet to grow old. "No Excuses" more than holds its own following such a great song.
The final two songs, "No Way Down" and "Windmill Wedding", weave the listener back into a dreamlike state, with the first of the two bringing you to peacefulness and the second being that dream.
As much as I love Sincerely Yours' lineup, if you listen to any one release from them, make sure that it is No Way Down, the EP is the perfect way to spend 23 minutes.