It’s been three years since Air released a new studio album, and it doesn’t disappoint. With darker melodies and atypical instrumentation for a band of Air’s pop pedigree, Pocket Symphony is wildly different than previous works while maintaining the pop elements that made them famous. Less electronic than previous work, Pocket Symphony emphasizes a delicate piano-centric approach with flourishes from classic Japanese instruments like the koto and shamisen, which manage to blend beautifully into the instrumentation.
The album is antithetical to their usual playfullness, and while some people will enjoy the more sombre lead, older fans may have problems with the sudden shift in style. It is a major shift, and in some regards extremely experimental for a band with such a rich background in pop and dance. In the end, though, the tracks are beautiful and haunting, with gorgeous instrumentation that stands out from other attempts. Pocket Symphony manages to be a beautiful, yet grave, addition to Air’s discography, no matter how out of place it feels in their greater oeuvre.