Nicole Schneit, aka Air Waves, newest masterpiece ‘The Dance’ is out today on Fire Records.
‘The Dance’ has waited three years to see the light of day and it comes to us now, blinking, smiling in the widening light of 2022 feeling more needed and necessary but also more joyous than ever before. It’s both a snapshot of these songs as they were recorded but crucially, in the intervening time those songs have had additional arrangements crafted by Nicole, created remotely and virtually, with a few like-minded collaborators. The result is simultaneously Air Waves freshest, most spontaneous yet finessed album yet, heady with hooks and unforgettable melodies, gliding on deeply danceable grooves and beats always with Schneit’s innate compassion, concision and uncanny pop sense shining throughout the nine luminescent tracks. For Schneit, that broken sense of time is crucial to how ‘The Dance’ miraculously came together.
Recorded at Figure 8 studios in Brooklyn, NY, ‘The Dance’ features Skyler Skjelset (Fleet Foxes, Beach House), Luke Temple (backing vox, additional arrangements), Brian Betancourt (Hospitality, Sam Evian), Cass McCombs (backing vox on Alien), Rina Mushonga (backing vox), Frankie Cosmos (backing vox), Lispector (backing vox), David Christian (drums), Ethan Sass (guitar, synth), and Ben Florencio (drums).
‘The Dance’ is anything but an over-confected studio-sprawl -like all Air Waves music it’s at root beautifully simple, instantly accessible and entirely addictive. Nicole released their first independent album in 2009 under the Air Waves moniker, a name inspired by a Guided By Voices song -subsequent albums like 2010’s ‘Dungeon Dots’ (which featured a guest vocal from fellow Brooklynite Sharon Van Etten), 2015’s ‘Parting Glances’ and 2017’s stunning ‘Warrior’ crystallised Schneit’s vision of loose-but-focused, convivial but startling pop. ‘The Dance’ continues that trajectory but finds Schneit opening up their music to a more fluid sense of space and movement, while keeping their lyrical eye between the personal and the political, from the specific to the universal with a haiku-like directness and suggestion. ‘Wait’ explores issues with focusing, something rooted in their childhood alongside the need to not overdo anything and appreciating the simplicity within something.
You won’t find a better soundtrack for the solidarity, strength, romance and movement we all need right now than ‘The Dance’ – Air Waves’ best album yet and recommendations come no higher. Shall we?