The Airborne Toxic Event. Already people have a black or white response to the name when hearing it and the band has only been around for a mere couple years. Ignoring the random and rapid success, the story of the band is almost satirical. Basically Mikel Jollett is a novelist who couldn’t express what he needed in prose, so he forms a band and immediately begins touring with major acts such as Silversun Pickups and Kaiser Chiefs. Whatever it is with this one album, people are ever so keen to find out why it’s such a buzz topic. The answer to that is simple: nostalgic post grunge/shoegaze is enough for anyone of the generation to indulge in, especially for the summer.
Drawing obvious influences from My Bloody Valentine, Silversun Pickups, Smashing Pumpkins and probably Pavement as well, the music reflects a sad happy stream of consciousness after the disasters. Even the casual mainstream music listener will instantly find themselves bobbing along to the rhythms, for whether it’s the bittersweet lead parts, the infectious drum patterns, or the heartbreaking lyrics, literally anyone can relate to this music, which is something many bands try to accomplish in their whole career let alone their debut record. The music and lyrics flow extremely well together, and given Jollett’s previous career this comes as no surprise. Though, due to his usual prose writing he tends to repeat a few words more than necessary, and just because of the forum of the lyrics it comes across in a negative way, but nonetheless something he can overcome in the future. Musically you can expect anything from lead driven songs with keyboards drenching the tones as to purge into more melancholic muses (Wishing Well, Papillion), or very simple one-chord-progression track crescendos with ever-building layers (Sometime Around Midnight, Missy). Whatever the band plays, they do so effortlessly, wearing their influences like band shirts.
Essentially there’s not really anything wrong with the record, especially for a debut. The only thing the band need to do at this point is find a more individual perception on music rather than depending too much on their influences to drive the songs. There’s not a personality crisis, but there is a lack of Airborne Toxic Event, if that makes sense. Jollett is a great lyricist, and has the potential to be exceptional given that he’s learning from his experiences of being in an active band. Also, Innocence does not need to be seven minutes long as is, but the band needs to learn. And all we have to do is wait.