Starwalker's self-titled debut lives up to the promise of the Losers Can Win EP, as well as its members' CVs. It's no surprise that a collaboration between Air's Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Bang Gang's Bardi Jóhannsson would result in lush, lavish music, but Starwalker is also remarkably and refreshingly pop-focused: The duo saves the album's lone instrumental, the expansive "Demeter," for last. Indeed, Starwalker is often more accessible than some of Dunckel's other music outside of Air; "Losers Can Win" and "Holidays" feel like worthy successors to Darkel's lovely "At the End of the Sky" in their mix of childlike wonder and bittersweet sophistication. Jóhannsson and Dunckel even outdo Air when it comes to songs that shimmer like soap bubbles and drape like satin on the tropical idyll "Blue Hawaii" and the baroque melancholy of "Le President." However, they also incorporate plenty of less-expected influences with confidence, like the stomping Motown beat and proggy coda on "Everybody's Got Their Own Way." Within these sonic confections, Starwalker crafts whimsically romantic confessions: "Let's meet in space," Dunckel croons on "Come and Stay" as he and Jóhannsson transform sugary, early '70s novelty pop into a spiritual and seductive lullaby. Meanwhile, love and technology are inextricably linked on the AM pop-worshipping "Radio" and "Get Me," where Dunckel sings "my heart beats like a drum machine." A thoroughly delightful album, it's hard to imagine fans of Jóhannsson and Dunckel's other projects not falling hard for Starwalker's charming galactic pop.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares