Sometimes it really does need to be turned right up, it would be easy to let Brighton’s Air Formation flow past in a haze of pink and purple Cocteau Twin smoke and dismiss them as another band formed too late to get themselves on an episode of Snub TV alongside Curve, Ride, Slowdive and the rest somewhere around 1993. You can’t really listen to Air Formation quietly, you need to let them engulf you in their powerful atmospheres. This four tracker is kind of what you’d expect from something released on the always reliable AC30 label to sound like, that slightly epic standing on the edge of the world shoegazing thing. The five piece aren’t really doing anything that new with the formula, but hey, what they do do, once you turn it up and let it do a little more that loiter in your background, once you stand and bask in the glory of it all, head back, arms out, let the power of their music take you, what they do do is wonderful (and I’m guessing the real place to be is in front of them while they do it live).
Apparently Air Formation are born again, reformed, ringing bells now, we have said good things about them before haven’t we? Whatever the case maybe, once you let these four new tracks flow, this EP is glorious. So many bands flowing through here grabbing their fifteen minutes of soup can… the official blurb is cut n’ paste down there underneath the music should you need some background.
The cut ‘n pasted background….
Brighton shoegaze luminaries Air Formation return on September 25th with ‘Were We Ever Here’, their first new material since reforming in 2014. Loosely based around the group of songs they were working on in 2010 before their split, the band worked on the EP in secret, stating “We thought it would be a more exciting, organic, experience if we just got on with it un-announced and released it as fast as we could.”
Air Formation formed in 2000, long before their spiritual forebears Slowdive and Loop were once again considered acceptable influences. Since signing to Club AC30, long a bastion of the modern shoegaze sound, in 2005, the band gained a devoted following and for albums such as 2007’s Daylight Storms (which was mastered by alternative rock legend Kramer) and their final LP, Nothing To Wish For (Nothing to Lose), in 2010. Their incendiary live show also saw them share stages with the likes of Vessels and Efterklang.
Ten years on from their first release for Club AC30, the 57 Octaves Below EP, the four songs on ‘Were We Ever Here’ cover every corner of Air Formation’s sound, whilst adding surprising new touches. The swathes of feedback and distortion are all present and correct, along with swooping New Order synths. Slow-building opener ‘I Could Stay’ comes to life in a swooning burst of fuzzed-up bass and hyperactive Ride-like drums. Closing track ‘The Wasted Days’ takes the entire EP into another gear, shifting from kinetic drone-pop to expansive post-rock territory, bringing this record to a close in a shower of noise.
Say the band themselves: “We really feel ‘Were We Ever Here’ showcases the best of Air Formation, but then takes it on a different path to any of the music has come before.” While their break-up in 2011 involved no fireworks or fistfights, the band do admit that “what once felt effortless and exciting was becoming hard to hold together, and that is no way to make music.” ‘Were We Ever Here’ suggests that the band’s spark has returned. With a vengeance.
That should be enough of a thing for today don’t you think? Another thing required? Enough of this, besides the born again Air Foundation taking us back to 1993 and Mint 400 and people yelling about some having fins and someone popping up on a social media timeline proclaiming themselves to be sick of music? The sick of music proclamations sounded fresh, it liberated things for a moment, hang on though, I know that voice, pura vida indeed, my sister was sick all over the highway, pass me a toothpick, this isn;t new either, this is from 2001. I hate music, that’s not fresh, that’s back there, was a blast for a minute though and what did become of Steve Ludwin? Probably bothering a snake somewhere.
“I’m sick of music, Of corporate sounds, Of all the boy bands and girl groups baby, they just make you want to crawl underground. I hate this business, So full of sharks, They swim around in the devil’s dandruff as their boys are bought into the charts… Why make us listen? Why make us sick? Why do you listen? Bands, they’ll use you up, jump your ship and stab you in the back, the moment a corporate suit comes anywhere near, change your name, pretend you’re new, we’ll sign you, shaft them, come with us, off to the demonic advisory centre, a five minute distraction, Steve Ludwin makes us smile, shafted us, but hey, most bands did. We had a band called Travis on the label here back in the day, no no that one, the other one. Anyway, just got an e.mail from Travis, this Travis is nothing to do with any Travis we know of though -. hang on peanut butter on toast break – . Don’t ask us who this Travis is or who the Chewers are or what happened to our Travis or the other Travis or Liberty 37 or any of that stuff. Deckon Claybourne knows all you need is three chords and the truth, he keeps it real, give him a liver!
“Hello Organ folks, Travis from The Chewers here. We’ve just released our new album “Dead Dads”. Below is our press release. thanks for your time, -Travis”
You don’t need out words, here’s those Chewers, if we didn’t like it it wouldn’t be parked here for you to explore if we didn’t think it worth your time, gloriously obtuse….