Review Summary: Finally.
Ever since the project of Angels and Airwaves started in 2006, the group has set some lofty expectations that many fans have been wishing they would obtain. When the group formed, lead singer Tom Delonge said that this would be the "best music we have heard in decades." And there were times when that claim has completely missed the mark such as 2nd effort I-Empire
. However there were also times when that claim has actually come close to fruition, such as Love Part II
, which instrumentally was a masterpiece. Critics have come to either love or hate Tom Delonge's "I've Gone to mars and back" vocal execution. However many could argue that these vocals are the Achilles Heel of the sound the band has always aimed for. So with their newest EP Stomping The Phantom Brake Pedal
which is a split work, these new tracks find the super group finally reaching the heights they have set for themselves. These are followed by remixes of fan favorite tracks which unfortunately deter from the quality work that precedes it.
Reviewing this work based on tracks would be unfair to the group. You feel the band had the full intention of this work being listened to in succession. The band finally does the bold thing throughout this release, and pulls the plug on Delonge's microphone (in exception of the last 90 seconds of "The Diary where he is phased out with phaser and vocoder) and just plays for three tracks lasting roughly 15 minutes. With this being done, the band finally achieves the sound the they have sought for with an sonic exposition through space (at least in your mind) without distraction. Master percussionist Ilan Rubin has one of the finest performances of his career through the drums that become the full beating heart of the music. Synthesizers for once are also expertly placed, mainly on "New Blood". For the first time in the career of the band the synthesizers are not used for lackadaisical effects. You actually feel the music, and the synthesizers add the flair necessary. For once you finally feel like the band is taking you to new heights, rather than just floating around waiting to be taken off the Earth.
This superb feeling is ruined by some oddball remixes thrown in the last 5 tracks of the EP. These remakes of some of their best songs such as "Surrender" and "Saturday Love" basically throw the originals of these tracks on a higher pedestal. They're pretty pointless, and quite frankly, not warranted on this otherwise spectacular release.
The group finally did something here. They reached the sound here they have always aimed for. It may be the complete realization of the groups (Tom Delonge's?) ambition. It also may be that they finally listened to their critiques. However, if this work continues on future releases, dare I say we will continue be taken to the stars. Which in the end, is what Tom and Company ultimately aim for.
”Breathe, Looking at the air flow, taking in a ray of light, stretching across the long coast.”