Angels & Airwaves

The Dream Walker

Written by: PP on 17/12/2014 22:48:11

Angels & Airwaves was supposed to be the pet project by Tom DeLonge after he split up Blink 182 to focus on more ambitious songwriting. That basically never happened, with the three albums ranging from boring to over-inflated to lacking in substance, never once suggesting it was worthwhile breaking up one of the most beloved bands of the time. Fast-forward to 2011 and Blink is back together. Angels & Airwaves releases "Love: Part Two", which many assumed would put the band if not to rest then at least to an indefinite hiatus while we wait for a new Blink record to surface. Ironically, it was their best effort so far, where the megalomaniac ambitions of this project were finally starting to approach realistic levels from a songwriting perspective; the stratosphere was at least in sight compared to the outer-space dwellings of previous work. This evolution continues on fifth album "The Dream Walker", at once confusing everybody about the status of A&A: are we in side project phase again? Is Blink going to last? What are we to think of the future?

For now, let's focus on the album itself. Opener "Teenagers And Rituals" offers straight away a more active and energetic soundscape than we're previously used to from this band. Yes, it's still fluffy and lofty like a Coldplay song, but at least it is a solid song compared to some of the nothingsaying floaters this band they have released in the past. Thereafter we get "Paralyzed", which goes a little too far in ripping off a Blink 182 riff but nonetheless proves to be arguably the best song A&A have written during their career. The inventive bass melody by Thrice bassist Eddie Breckenridge, who joined the band prior to the recording of this album, sounds great thanks to the distorted and fuzzy overall melody of the track. When we reach vocals, it's DeLonge flying high above the clouds once again, as we've come to expect in the past. Likewise, "Mercenaries" is both louder and more explosive (relatively speaking) than the dreamy stuff, which is of course also well represented on the album on tracks like "Kiss With A Spell" and "Tremors". We also have a dabble with pure pop music on "Bullets In The Wind" complete with rhythmic hand claps on the background and faded-back, yet polished backing vocals making it sound all nice and accessible.

Basically, "The Dream Walker" can be divided into two kinds of songs. Approximately half of the songs add energy and catchy melodies into their uplifting atmospheres, and continue the approach towards planet earth in terms of grandeur of the soundscape. But the other half are still too fluffy and airy to be thoroughly enjoyed, mostly because the songs go nowhere and feel like they never get started in the first place. Still, the majority of the record is dominated by stronger content than usual, so I'm starting to grow a slight liking to DeLonge's alter ego.

7

Download: Paralyzed, Teenagers And Rituals, Mercenaries
For the fans of: Blink 182, Thirty Seconds To Mars
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.12.2014
To The Stars Records

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