For Fans Of
Regardless of the fact that
I’m twenty five years old, I still love Blink 182. I, like many
people (whether they want to admit it or not) was bummed when the band
decided to call it a day but my spirits were somewhat lifted when I
found out we would get not one, but two new bands from the split.
As we all know, Mark
and Travis released a record with Plus 44, and while it
wasn’t dramatically different from Blink’s newer material it
filled the void and gave us something to sing a long to after a few
too many drinks at Bang. Enter Tom Delonge… who loudly and
proudly proclaimed that his new outfit Angels & Airwaves
was quite possibly the greatest band of the last two decades.
Did their debut live up to
the hype? No, it did not. Does their sophomore effort deliver on Tom’s original promises… strike two I’m afraid.
Remember those kids who were
wearing Dickies and a New Found Glory tee six months ago but now they’re
busting out cardigans (Cripps is exempt from this) and claiming they’ve
been fans of The Smiths for years? That’s Tom
Delonge… a man who is so intent on proving to people that he’s
outgrown the pop punk he cut his teeth on that he’s prepared to write
another record of B grade (and that’s being generous) U2 covers.
There is nothing inherently
bad with “I-Empire”, but when you tell everyone with access to the
internet that your music will revolutionize the world as we know it
big things are expected. Did you hear what I said Mr Delonge? Big things! Over-using a delay pedal and spending too much time
with a synthesizer does not make you ground breaking!
Now that I’ve got that out
of my system let’s talk about the songs themselves. “Call To Arms”
is probably the most straight to the point track on the record but it
has two major faults, the first being that it sounds like it could have
been lifted from the first Angels record, such is the lack of
progression or development in the song writing department. The second
issue is a statement about the band in general, and that is that Tom’s voice simply isn’t good enough to front an arena rock band.
There’s no doubt that he reigned supreme as the pop punk king but I
don’t think Bono will feel threatened by Tom’s vocal prowess…
or lack thereof.
“Everything’s Magic” is
a really catchy tune however I’m fairly certain that The Cure
used the bass line around fifteen years ago. In saying that, it’s still
my favourite track on the album and almost single handedly responsible
for the 60 out of 100 that I’ve given this record. It’s a shame that
it’s followed up by “Breathe” because it’s such a fucking horrible
tune. Seriously, if I never hear that chorus again it’ll be too soon.
“Love Like Rockets” actually
has a pretty cool riff but the problem is that the song doesn’t really
get kicking for a minute and a half, which is a big no no when you’re
trying to write hits (their words, not mine). “Sirens” starts off
with so much promise but the song just doesn’t go anywhere, although
if Hollywood ever decide to make a sequel to The Wedding Singer
then I’m sure they’ll be keen to use it on the soundtrack.
first really rockin track on the record even though it lags around the
four minute mark. “Star Of Bethlehem” and “True Love” sound
like they were written for Boy George and “Lifeline” just
plods along without really going anywhere, however“Rite Of Spring”
brings the album home on a strong note and manages to save Angels
The bottom line here is this. Delonge and co have talked this record up way too much and because
of that it was always going to sound mediocre. There’s a few cool tracks
on offer but as an entire record it drops the ball. I sincerely hope
that the band pulls their collective heads out of their arses and let
their music do the talking in the future.
- Call To Arms
- Everything’s Magic
- Love Like Rockets
- Secret Crowds
- Star Of Bethlehem
- True Love