Sunday, March 17, 2013
SXSW review: Dallas’ Air Review lifted spirits
There’s nothing wimpy about these guys.
AUSTIN When you’re Air Review, the Dallas quintet fronted by lead singer Douglas Hale, you must play responsibly. The band makes such ethereal yet substantial, original music that it is liable to carry spectators straight up into the ether. Even on a warm day with the sun shining through a tented stage.
Such was the scene Saturday afternoon as Hale and Review mates Jeff Taylor, Richard Carpenter, Dragan Jakovljevic, and Justin Robinson played for 30 minutes at Doc’s Motorworks amid the bustling South Congress Avenue hub. The set was totally dedicated to Low Wishes, the group’s gorgeous second full-length album. Opening with “Animal” set the note for the rest of the show. It was all clanging beauty, a song that instantly embodied the sonic swirl at the core of Air Review’s sound. Make that a drum-fueled sonic swirl. There’s nothing wimpy about these guys. They understand the arresting connection between soft and hard, light and dark, elated and melancholy.
It is within those gray areas that Air Review creates mini-opuses for the senses. “America’s Son” was a wistful anthem, one of those songs that gradually lifts your spirits. Similarly, “Young” was all effervescent energy. It had that exuberant, synthesized bounce. And “Low Wishes” came fortified with drum beats giving the tune a very rhythmic yet quite dreamy ambiance.
The wall-of-sound is so alluring, as is the three-part harmonies between Hale, Carpenter, and Taylor. Think the Beach Boys dining with Coldplay in the middle of an ascending air balloon. This is heady stuff, folks, melodically lethal.