Darkel, ‘Darkel’ (Astralwerks)
“TV Destroy,” the best song on the solo debut of Air’s Jean-Benoit Dunckel, is a near-perfect confluence of early-’90s indie guitar noise, Daft Punk-style disco, and French-chick-who-can’t-say-her-r’s vocals, and its three minutes go by way too quickly. But the rest of Darkel is so aceless that it’ll make you hanker for Dirty Vegas deep cuts. Dunckel puts an AM-radio-pop spin on his other band, but the highlights — “My Own Sun,” “At the End of the Sky” — sound like background music, and Dunckel’s breathy vocals unintentionally underscore the project’s lightweight character. Then again, when he tries to sound serious, as on album-closer “Bathroom Spirit,” with its portentous piano arpeggios and synthesized strings, things actually get worse.