Release Date: Sep 19, 2006
Record label: Astralwerks
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Electronic
While Jean-Benoît Dunckel and his Air partner, Nicolas Godin, worked on Charlotte Gainsbourg's album 5:55 by day, at night he recorded his first solo album under the name Darkel (inspired by when he recorded it and the fact that his last name means "dark" in German). Darkel doesn't differ greatly from his work with Air -- it's got the same mix of epic synth passages and sexy, starry-eyed pop, and his wispy, almost androgynous voice would be unmistakable in almost any setting. Songs such as "Be My Friend," "Pearl," and especially "Bathroom Spirit" could have easily been Air B-sides; they've got all the mellow, sensual atmosphere of Dunckel's main project, but not quite as much impact as Air's best work.
Most solo albums are pointless but some are more pointless than others. Unless there's something they're not telling us, Air are still a going concern, so it's hard to discern Jean-Benoit Dunckel's motives for making an album that sounds like, well, thin Air. Without his band's usual deep-pile arrangements, these twinkling melodies and synth-prog twiddles sound rather insubstantial; TV Destroy is tinselly new wave that would struggle to destroy a teabag.