It feels as if this has been a long time coming but June 30 saw Esprit D’Air release their much-anticipated first album, Constellations, but not without a few hiccups along the way. There have been member departures and line-up changes that see guitarist Kai take on vocals, Ellis on bass and Daishi on drums as well as their fair share of radio silence.
This is all too easy to forget when you take into account how active they have been in the last year or so. All starting with their single Rebirth, which you could say was the declaration of their comeback, to then self-sign themselves to Starstorm Records, implementing a DIY ethos, eventually leading us to Constellations.
A total of eight songs that convey an ethereal atmosphere, taken to epic proportions, illustrated by the combination of synths, piano, sound effects and the respective instrumental work of each member. All of these ideas are reinforced throughout the duration of the album.
The appropriately titled Ignition sees us go off into undiscovered territory with an array of bright electronic sounds, the kind you would expect to hear if aliens were signaling their arrival. Regardless, there is this underlying heaviness that really brings out the full extent of the song in a rather explosive and destructive manner.
Rebirth follows suit as there are heavy interludes that will get your head nodding ever so violently alongside a soaring solo almost taking on air-like qualities with its grandiose sound. Guiding Light manages to slow down everything, putting emphasis on piano and emotional delivery from the lyrics full of uncertainty, with lines such as “But I’m leaving here for nowhere” and “As I step into the void, reverberating emptiness”.
The intensity rises ever so sharply for The Hunter with an almost mechanical chugging before taking it to a point where the atmosphere is bound to heighten your awareness. All before bringing it down a notch for when it reaches the synth-laden pop rock number Starstorm followed by The Awakening, a straight up rock song from beginning to end but is still just as effective.
Reminisce is another heartfelt emotional ride, complementing Guiding Light regardless of being placed at nearly opposite ends of the album. It is definitely the most magical and mystical song off them all. Ending with Versus which takes home the crown as the song that illustrates a side we haven’t seen from the band before, similar to Starstorm but both come as welcoming surprises.
If you managed to get your hands on the physical edition, the album is far from over as it adds an additional three songs consisting of Shizuku that again, fuses heavy riffs with expressive vocals. Grudge, which is almost unrecognizable from its intro and a new lick of paint, a great change from the original. Then we finish on the iconic and wonderful Deai that absolutely steals the show, a perfect fit for the end of such a great album.
In some instances, you could very much say this was a best-of album, a compilation of all their work but because their singles have been few and far between, that is not the case here. Without a doubt, this is most definitely the best thing Esprit D’Air have produced, managing to mix new material with old classics. Hopefully, this outing is no a “Hello, goodbye” kind of deal as there is still so much more to show but one thing is for sure, it will be interesting to see where they go next!