At six tracks with the opening track being an intro, Take the Air is short, but it is packed with quality songs, so it's still an enjoyable listen. The opening track, "You're Never Gonna Know", is instrumental with a focus on the ringing guitarwork of Yongnin, which actually leads well into the first main track, "그때와 같은 공간, 같은 노래가", which features more of that guitarwork from the intro, combined with the rhythm section creating and appropriately soaring musical field upon which Nine provides her voice. It's a subtle thing, but Yongnin's guitarwork really lends to a sense of flight, particularly in takeoff and probably resonates the most with the title and the cover imagery as birds fly away and return, which thematically matches with the song's lyrics.
"Last Scene" adds in some electronics and the keyboards are a little more apparent in a track that glides along pretty well, but it's "무너져" where the album really finds another side to show, this heartbreak ballad being restrained in the arrangement emphasizing Nine's vocals as the track slowly builds in emotion to powerful bridge where Nine lets go of her previous vocal restraint and finds a moving moment.
The EP's penultimate track is its final original track, with a crystalline keyboard line provided by Jeong-a upon which Nine sings in a manner that at times evokes I Sora in another ballad. It's pretty good, although doesn't quite have the unleashing factor of "무너져". The EP closes with a demo of "어떻게도", which appears to be a previously unreleased song. It's not a revelation as it sits well on the EP and shows that the band's sound has stayed pretty true since 2005 when the demo was recorded.
The pleasures of Take the Air come in the subtleties, like the arrangements of "그때와 같은 공간, 같은 노래가" and "Last Scene" lending to the sense of soaring or the performance by Nine on the two ballads. But the one limiting factor of the EP is that it does sometimes feel a little too restrained. While Nine's voice leaves quite an impression and her timbre is one of the reasons why the band exudes a comforting warmth, she only really finds a strong point of dynamism on "무너져", leaving some of her sung passages feeling just a little stock at times, leaving the arrangement to have to provide that dynamism, which works at times and less at others.
Part of this might just be a result of oversmoothing by the engineers as the band has shown a good degree of dynamism in live performances I've seen, but it takes a little of the air out of the EP. Not to say that the band doesn't manage to take off on their tracks, but just that Take the Air sometimes seems to fall short of soaring. A good EP with a good set of tracks. Nothing groundbreaking for Dear Cloud, but I think it will likely please fans of their sound. 7/10.
- You're Never Gonna Know (intro)
- 그때와 같은 공간, 같은 노래가
- Last Scene
- 사라지지 말아요
- 어떻게도 (January '05 demo)