Charlotte was fantastic... but there is so much more to this band. Brilliant debut, more to come for certain.
Bournemouth piano rocking four-piece Air Traffic release their fabulous debut offering Fractured Life, consisting of refreshing mood music that encompasses the full spectrum of emotions, from anguish to exuberance and everything in between. Having formed as a distraction to A-level studies in school and developed during time studying in London, pouring their student loans into rehearsal and recording time in the process, the youngsters have managed to develop their own individual style and work ethic, without the pressure associated with many 'scenes' in today's larger cities. The band thank their hometown of Bournemouth for this, as singer Chris Wall says "There are no music venues, and absolutely no pressure to sound like anyone else. So you have the potential to develop your own style". Regardless of how they have reached this point, one thing is for sure; this album is a great debut.
Opener 'Just Abuse Me' kicks things off at quite a pace, with funky piano flirting with intermittent guitar and an upbeat jazz piano instrumental. At only 2:32 minutes in length, it serves as an excellent warm up for the revered classic that is second single 'Charlotte'. With insanely catchy guitar melodies constructed from jagged chords and sliding octave lead guitar, coupled with powerful, soaring vocals, this track is a top quality slice of urgent, sing-along indie rock.
In contrast to this frenetic opening, 'Shooting Star' marks a change of pace and subject matter within the album. Opened by a quite frankly beautiful piano passage, this track portrays a different, more mature side to the band and song writing, and some superb vocal work. The piano takes the lead throughout, blending perfectly with guitar in a supporting role. The drums are subtle during the verse, only to break free and pound through the chorus and dominate the instrumental breakdown leading to the songs climax.
'No More Running Away' continues on from 'Shooting Star', with piano once again leading the song with singer Chris Wall showcasing his excellent vocal range, and an almost tribal drumbeat rising from the tom-toms. However, it's the end passage that grips the listener, with the full quota of instruments being introduced to create a thick, busy texture and an anthemic chant of the title, sure to be a live favourite sing-along.
'Empty Space' is both an album highlight and yet its darkest moment. A haunting yet beautiful ballad comprising of piano and extremely emotive vocals alone, especially Chris' cries of "Now he's breathing on his own", there are definite comparisons to be made with Muse's Matt Bellamy; pitch-perfect falsetto vocals, and engaging piano melodies, particularly during the middle passage.
The melancholy subsides once again with the return of upbeat, urgent indie rock with 'I Like That' and the light hearted 'Never Even Told Me Her Name', adding to the emotional ocean that washes over the entire album, from one extreme to another.
Album closer and title track 'Fractured Life' is a suitable departure, ending with an anthemic cry of "Please don't let me down". A suitable plea to all listeners, as the Bournemouth boys have certainly not let themselves or anyone else down with this collective work. A triumph for the apparent non-scene that is the south coast. Brilliant.