Angels and Airwaves aren’t what you might call a ‘normal’ rock band. There’s no charming back-story of all the members meeting at school and instantly becoming friends for life. Instead, they’re more of a second-generation group, formed from an odd mixture of bits of other bands: the drummer is from The Offspring, the bassist originally played for 30 Seconds To Mars, and their lead singer is Blink-182 front man, Tom DeLonge. A little surprisingly, the end result of this medley is actually rather good.
Released as a free digital download, their latest album Love was described by DeLonge as the ‘biggest release’ of his life. Although perhaps not the masterpiece he promised, it certainly appears to illustrate a growing maturity, both in his music and attitude to life. The flickering, darting introduction to ‘Soul Survivor’, the dreamy ‘Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce’, the frantic crescendos in ‘Hallucinations’ – they are all indicative of a band that are beginning to free themselves from the limitations of typical American pop-punk.
Every now and then they slip back into their comfort zone, and a couple of the songs aren’t quite as ambitious as one would like them to be (Epic Holiday in particular is dangerously reminiscent of Green Day), while their fondness for guitar effects occasionally threatens to drown us in a vague, over-distorted mess.
Nevertheless, the large majority of tracks seem well polished and flow smoothly into each other, although there is perhaps a slightly repetitive feel, with the album repeatedly trying to drag the listener into swelling crescendos, which becomes tiresome. If one looks past these minor faults, however, it is possible to enjoy Love.
It doesn’t quite live up to the hype: it’s not world changing and it’s certainly no ‘blend of Radiohead and U2′, but we can forgive DeLonge his over-zealous ambitions. Apart from his comparison of Love to Pink Floyd’s The Wall, that is. Too far, Tom, too far.