[sic] Magazine

Airs – Rainclouds Over The Remains Of Hope

Airs are light in name but fairly heavy on influences, with the most noticeable force behind Rainclouds Over the Remains of Hope being echo-laden shoegaze à la Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine . In amongst that, however, is occasional leanings towards the grunge rock side of Dinosaur Jr. , the melodic (almost to the point of dream pop) metal style of Jesu and the post-rock ambience of Pyramids , including a similar penchant for underpinning it with heavier artillery by way of black metal.

It might seem like a recipe for a mash-up, but for a band approximately one year old, Airs, more often than not, sound assured and comfortable in their zone, and are a stage or two beyond being simply a young band experimenting with techniques and genres. While they do cover a fairly wide ground, they’ve developed a distinct sound that is honed enough to not quite go all over the map either.

The album opens with ‘Overcast – das ende der zeit -‘, a hymnal, melodic instrumental that is a strong introduction and sets the tone of everything that follows. From there on in you can expect frequent shifts in pace and style, but that tone, as well as a consistent aesthetic and theme, is maintained throughout.

I’m particularly partial to ‘Cast Into the Sea’, the last two minutes of which are highly effective as an ambient soundscape led by some really nice guitar melody. ‘Joyless’ is another strong track, being a very neatly executed number with a little garage punk, making the subject matter ironically upbeat and hummable. ‘We’re Still Drifting’ is an interesting change of pace, and the closest to being a straightforward rock number with a hint of glam.

While Airs have made sure there’s no mistaking who you’re listening to from track to track, the differences are noticeable and the success is in slightly varying degrees. The distant, ghostly vocals and guitar work on ‘Innocence’ make for an effective interlude, but I’d really like to hear it without the constant repetitive thudding of the drumbeat, which admittedly is not the foremost sound, but after a couple of unrelenting minutes starts to become so.

It’s with ‘Everyone Has Died Post Haste’ that many of the various elements are brought together the most cohesively and successfully, and therefore could well come to be considered a signature track for their overall sound and the extensive ground Airs cover.

Airs certainly have the ability to engage and surprise, with their debut being true to their name and containing plenty of atmosphere, but it also has enough weight behind it to pack a genuine punch and draw your attention at pivotal moments. All in all making for an interesting mix that, given a little time to perfect, could result in something brilliant over impressive.