Review of Airbag, DISCONNECTED (Karisma, 2016). Tracks: Killer; Broken; Slave; Sleepwalker; Disconnected; Returned.
When Airbag first appeared on the prog scene with their extraordinary album, IDENTITY (2008-2009), they seemed a fascinating cross between Pink Floyd and Talk Talk, at least in their influences. Or more accurately, perhaps, imagine Pink Floyd performing Talk Talk songs. Even the cover of IDENTITY looked like something James Marsh would’ve painted. The atmosphere the band created—at least in the studio—was nothing short of astounding. Moody, driven, and meaningful. One might be tempted to call their music prog shoe-gaze.
Their first and only (as far as I know) live release, LIVE IN OSLO, proved just how amazingly talented the four members of Airbag are. After hearing them live, no one could dismiss them as a studio band merely. As much as I liked IDENTITY, it was the 24 minutes of LIVE IN OSLO that utterly blew me away. Upon my first listen to this short album, I knew this band was something special.
Four albums later, Airbag still proudly carries with it the influences it’s had since 2008. One can hear the loving spirits of Mark Hollis and Rick Wright hovering over and guiding these four Norwegian proggers.
Indeed, DISCONNECTED is not only an homage to the past, but it also very well represents the talent of these four men as they move into the not so near future. In no way do I want to suggest that somehow Airbag is a cover band or clone of Pink Floyd or of Talk Talk. They are most certainly their own, as individual players and as a band. They know very well how to orchestrate an album, allowing it to flow in beauty and continuity from the opening note to the closing note, and every one of the notes played within the 51 minutes of DISCONNECTED.
As with their previous albums, not only does DISCONNECTED offers a prog meditation from beginning to end, but it also lyrically deals with existentialist themes suited to the music: death; loss; and alienation.
If you like moody bass, soaring guitars, relentless drumming, thoughtful lyrics, and atmospheric keyboards, Airbag is your band. Don’t miss this album or any of their others. Again, while no clone of Pink Floyd or Talk Talk, they are the rightful inheritors of the legacy of each.
Airbag’s official album site: http://www.airbagdisconnected.com