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Pocket Symphony (Astralwerks)

French-accented, vocoder-distorted wordings and spooky organ intonations? Yup, Pocket Symphony definitely sounds like Air — although the album's inclusion of traditional Japanese instruments gives songs such as "Mer du Japon" and "One Hell of a Party" mystical flavor. The latter features Pulp's Jarvis Cocker adding his special brand of deadpan observations and delivery, which pairs particularly well with Air's esoteric pop. Also joining the duo on "Somewhere Between Waking and Sleeping" is the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, whose sad warblings conversely bring hope. But Air focuses largely on spacey instrumental numbers on Pocket Symphony, and the orchestral movements on these songs are calming without being repetitive or overdone.

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