Bournemouth quartet Air Traffic have garnered some serious airplay on Radio 1 of late, thanks in so small part to being a favourite of the likes of Steve Lamacq and Zane Lowe, their debut LP, Fractured Life, suggests that they do deserve the hype, just.
Air Traffic are clearly a band whose interest is in writing classic melodies, every track here is polished and fine-tuned until any rough edges, or any edges for that matter, are smoothed off, an approach which is something of a mixed blessing.
Quite simply, Air Traffic are at their best when going for the all-out pop-rock (see 'Just Abuse Me', 'Charlotte' 'I Like That' and 'Get in Line'), when they go for the MOR soft-rock ballad though, which they do VERY frequently on this record, the pace lags, and even those with the strongest concentration spans will find their minds wandering. The worst culprit has to be the excruciatingly touchy-feely-but-still-blokey 'Time Goes By', which sounds like a cynical attempt at writing 'montage music' for the finals of reality TV shows (for other examples of montage music, see 'Run' and 'Chasing Cars' by Snow Patrol, and anything by James Blunt)
It's not all that black and white though, 'Empty Space' is an admirable attempt to do Muse, which only just falls wide of the mark, and 'Shooting Star' is a clichÃ©d piano ballad that is rescued by a sweet, questing guitar line.
On listening to Fractured Life, it becomes obvious what this bands strengths are, and if they can play to them on their next record, it could be a very exciting pop-rock album indeed. But for now, fans will have to make do with this, an album which is inspired, but only in short bursts.