Air Traffic – Fractured Life

If there’s one thing I absolutely do not buy into in the music scene, it’s bands that lack sincerity. Air Traffic’s odes to love (“Charlotte,” “Just Abuse Me”) not only don’t convince me that he’s really in love,
they sound more like an attempt to make female fans swoon over cheesy, phony lines (in short, to get
laid).

I was really excited going into Fractured Life. The first song, “Come On,” has the feel of 90’s alternative rock, one of my favorite genres, but it definitely doesn’t foreshadow the rest of the album’s vibe. Not to mention, there’s also a line about lying there and getting “fucked” and “you should be calling my name.” If I didn’t listen to other songs from this album about this same subject matter, I could appreciate the honesty.

The following song “Charlotte” reminds me a lot of Hot Hot Heat, which is probably why it’s their most recognized song: it’s marketable. Instead of being blunt like in “Come On,” the singer plays the nice guy act, exclaiming his excitement of being in love until the song ends with: “your face, my place at night.” Doesn’t quite leave much to the imagination, right? “Just Abuse Me” surprisingly doesn’t make any sexual implications aside from its title and maybe one particular line: “I’ll let you use me / Just abuse me.”

Then “Shooting Star” comes on and I have to say, I was taken back. Even though he refers to whoever-this-song-is-about as “pretty” about twenty times, for the first time, I actually believe what he’s saying. This could be because Air Traffic seems to have taken a page from Coldplay’s Parachutes: you can write a love song without being corny (or fake).

“No More Running Away” is my favorite from the album; it stands out from the rest because it’s not about a false love. It must be something close to their heart that is honest and true. It seems at this point, the album is getting better and better and I’m finally connecting to it. Also, the music isn’t as standard as it had been on the earlier songs. The piano is really what carries the beauty in this track (also in “Empty Space”) and probably their most appealing asset as a whole.

“Empty Space” and “Time Goes By” are both enjoyable but “I Like That” reaffirms my original opinion: the distortion in the guitars is trying to make the song more rock n’ roll but, instead, makes it messy and weak, and the vocals don’t make up for it. There seems to be a lack of effort on the song and it could have been left off the album completely. The next couple of forgettable songs only let me down as well.

Now, I’m nearing the end of Fractured Life and fearing it’s going to end on a bad note. However, the last track, “Your Fractured Life,” really does bring it home and, dare I say, I love it. It’s powerful and full of genuine emotion. The song actually ends at about four minutes but I had to sit through fifteen
more to get to the hidden track. Thankfully, it was a good “song;” it’s actually closer to a few guys jammin’ with the TV on in the background. Everyone is kind of all over the place but everything sounds so pretty individually, it does work together.

After listening to Fractured Life over and over again, I still can’t decide if I like it (or Air Traffic as a band) or not. It was a rollercoaster of hating it, liking it, wanting to shut it off, then liking it again. I would probably have a more definite answer if their sound was more consistent with the songs I did enjoy; however, since there were quite a few I didn’t, I’d have to say this is one of those albums that I may listen to only once and a while… and only for a few minutes.

Air Traffic: website | myspace | live review

by: Melissa

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