Nicolas Godin has released his second solo album Concrete and Glass. The Air co-founder has found the last several years quite fruitful for his solo career, releasing his debut solo album Contrepoint came out in 2015 and now Concrete and Glass. The album calls upon some of Air’s best early qualities, while also forging its own path ahead for the Frenchman.
The album is beautiful, mellow, luxurious, funky and very French. It opens with the album title track, an track that feels right at home in the 1990s with its synth play, vocoded vocals and almost eerier break.
The album starts out between the robotic vocals from Godin and then switches to a variety of singer features that add another layer of beauty to this LP. We get the immediate sense of this organic nature of the album with “Back To Your Heart” featuring the soaring vocals of Kate NV. It then slows down with the softest tune of the record “We Forgot Love.”
It isn’t until “What Makes Me Think About You” do we really get the full vision of the album. It is luxurious with resplendent strings as a funky and jazzy rhythm plays underneath. It is the perfect nightcap with a sad, yet romantic vocoder refrain “what makes me think about you.”
“Time On My Hands” is a gentle and beautiful song before the funky and upbeat “Catch Yourself Falling” closes out the guest vocals with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor.
It makes sense for Godin to pack the vocal features in a row in the middle of the album. This allows the album to peak in the meat of it and then return to the roots of who he is as a musician with beautiful synth-led instrumentals and vocoder singing.
The last three songs feel like the physical manifestation of this album arriving somewhere. We are entering a new country with Concrete and Glass. We pass through the border, turn right and then turn left and then arrive at the cité radieuse.
“The Border” is a gentle and hypnotizing track that then eases into another luxurious and soaring song “Turn Right, Turn Left” with strings that belong in a James Bond film and jazzy percussion. We eventually end up at “Cité Radieuse” -- a beautiful, modern garden city developed by Le Corbusier. It picks up on that sort of imagery with a playful synth line, some saxophone (which doesn’t sound cheesy!) and jazzy drums.
It is no surprise that Air stands for "Amour, Imagination, Rêve" (love, imagination, dream). Godin lives up to that, basking in love and then ending up at a magical and dreamlike city.
Stream the album below and get your copy here.