Sound — 9
Air Traffic's debut album Fractured Life is a blend of euphoric synth-threaded rock, introspective acoustics with Celtic-soul, and a tinge of nu-shoegaze atmospherics reflective of Test Your Reflex. Their track Shooting Star is a refined piano melody sandwiched by passages of engorged guitar chords and fluttering synths which thicken the atmosphere of the song's chorus parts. The band's melodic rock composites create beautifully hued keyboard channels and sensually moving guitar silhouettes floating along billowing rhythmic swells like in No More Running Away, which moves intermittently between moments of slow and high winds. The cabaret-rock style of the piano struts of Just Abuse Me is fattened up by palpitating drum kicks and flashy guitar riffs imbibed on expressive showtunes-like theatrics. The mellow piano pumps of Empty Space are filled with sorrow as the vocal melody gets strapped in creating melancholy grooves that show human vulnerability in a clear light. Come On commences with warm Celtic-like acoustic strokes that are layered in rock-driven guitars and rhythmic drumbeats that project a resemblance to Kasabian, while the track Charlotte delivers folksy quivers with catchy rhythmic steps and swerving guitar chords that show reflections of The Kooks. The album conveys personable stories shown in melodically toned atmospherics that make them more than just listenable, the songs actually make for great power-boasters.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are reflections about real-life dilemmas and situations like in the band's song Charlotte with words showing someone standing on the edge of a precipice: Losing, am I losing all my fame/ I can't stand the days that I'm alone/ Tell me, do you feel the same/ And are you glad I came/ Can I walk you home/ Cause I'm wasted/ Face down on the floor/ Can't take anymore/ Give it all away/ Lately I can't find the eyes/ Help me realize that I am in love/ Am I in love, am I in love? And then sometimes, the lyrics are a confirmation of love like in Shooting Star which tells: I'll be coming up to meet you/ I'll be there to make you mine/ Pretty, if the rain will pour/ I'll be knocking at your window/ I'll be begging you for more/ It's as if you've come along too soon/ And I'm trying to fit you in, but I can't seem to find the room/ Cutie, if it all falls through/ We can piece it back together/ I can learn to trust you too/ You're just too good to lose and I can't refuse/ So don't make me choose between the two/ I'm better in here in my atmosphere/ Don't you know who you are, you're my shooting star.
Overall Impression — 9
Air Traffic's album Fractured Life is an album so worth keeping. It puts into music the cycles of highs and lows that transpire through one's life. The band is a product of Bournemouth, England, a Wessex border town that they say has no rock heritage whatsoever, although the members certainly show a keen instinct for melodic rock fumes. The group's singer and main songwriter Chris Wall said about the band's hometown in a press release; "There are no music venues, and absolutely no pressure to sound like anyone else. So you have the potential to develop your own style." Wall's expressive singing attracted the attention of his bandmates, drummer David Jordan and guitarist Tom Pritchard, and rounding out the band is bassist Jim Maddock. For a debut album, it has given Air Traffic their first victory, and they got it on their first run out of the gate.