It's usually just the collectors and obsessed fans that contend a band's first few singles are really their best work, far better than the material that ends up on their first album. With the French band Air
, the collectors may just be right for once. Premiers Symptomes
, a five-track EP boosted up to seven tracks for its eventual American issue on Astralwerks, features some of the most gorgeous moments in the duo's discography -- no small task considering the gems included on their full-length debut, 1998's Moon Safari
. Almost completely instrumental (except for the surprisingly smooth robot croon on "Le Soleil est Pres de Moi"), Premiers Symptomes
offers a half-dozen tracks of beautiful, deliciously downtempo synth-pop. It's far more than just a compilation of substandard early material that works best for collectors, it takes its place right next to Moon Safari
as another highlight of French electronica.