Angels and Airwaves
The Dream Walker


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
December 12th, 2014 | 34 replies


Release Date: 12/09/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I'd thank God, but then what is he for?

Tom DeLonge has a simple message to convey, and he does it best on "Tunnels": "I am not without emotion." Ultimately, that was what dragged every previous Angels and Airwaves album down to the murky waters of mediocrity. For all their Floyd-aping keyboard intros and epic universality-of-love concepts, DeLonge and those other guys with instruments who occasionally showed up on his songs lacked substance. Now, while Blink-182 were never the most emotionally resonant band on the face of the earth, at least they played with passion. We were never bothered by how awfully off-key Tom sang on "Carousel" because like, dude, the nostalgia! But then Box Car Racer happened, and the break up, and +44 – and despite the best of intentions and an ego the size of Liam Gallagher's, well, ego, We Don't Need to Whisper just sort of came and went, and so did I-Empire and that whole LOVE fiasco. It's not that they were entirely lost causes, but for every enjoyable pop-punk tune like "Start the Machine" or "Rites of Spring", there was a bloated nu-prog mess with an ultra-wanky title along the lines of "The Moon Atomic (...Fragments and Fictions)" or "Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce". Something needed to change. Nearly ten years from their inception, that something is that AVA are finally comfortable with the sound they want to make.

Ilan Rubin's presence has clearly been crucial in the development of the sound. There is some clear influence from his eminent work with Nine Inch Nails, with synths and keyboards appearing, not peripherally as in AVA's past but interwoven skillfully with the guitars. Centrepieces "Kiss With a Spell" and "Mercenaries" match Rubin's gloomy synths with Tom's impeccable sense for pop hooks, and the latter song boasting Tom's chunkiest riffs since 2005 (not that that's saying a whole lot). Meanwhile, standouts "The Wolfpack" and "The Disease" stray closer to the style of the LOVE albums but excised of the unjustifiable six-minute song durations – every song on The Dream Walker is short, sweet and straight to the point.

DeLonge's advance in pure vocal ability since leaving Blink has been enviable – compare any song on here to Enema of the State, you'll see what I mean - but it is his increase in songwriting that truly shines through on The Dream Walker. We all know he'll never be an exceptional lyricist and that's alright, but for the first time since Blink's self-titled he is comfortable being in his own element. He hasn't ditched the straight-forward songs about relationships and love, but rather refined them, with none of the embarrassing attempts at universality and motivational anthems. Only on I-Empire's excellent "Rites of Spring" has Tom previously dared to look inwards instead of outwards with such clarity, and now, seven years later, he's finally delivering on the foundations laid there. It may still be cheesy, and a bit cliche, but for the first time it feels like he's coming from the heart. "Pick up the beat and pry up the caskets/And call in the masses, and turn up this song/Shuffle your feet and exit the blackness/Rise up from the ashes, you're dancing along."



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2014


41235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Review is (hopefully) short and sweet like this album, appropriate considering how bloated my others are

sup y'all

Digging: Copeland - Blushing

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
December 12th 2014


14139 Comments


good review man, posd

Digging: Paddy McAloon - I Trawl The Megahertz

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
December 12th 2014


14139 Comments


would this be a good album to start this band with? i love blink-182 but ive never listened to any of their side projects

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2014


41235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

thanks mortimusprime (rip)

We Don't Need to Whisper and I-Empire are decent basically from nostalgia purposes but this is the first album of theirs I think is truly great as explained in the review, so yeah this would be a good starting place

also can't recommend Box Car Racer's s/t enough, on par with the best of Blink

StKiyo
December 12th 2014


384 Comments


Pos'd
But, I think this band sucks and that Tom's voice is
getting worse with each album he put out, so I'm not
interested in jamming this.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2014


24238 Comments


nice review rowan, have a pos

Digging: Julia Jacklin - Crushing

Mongi123
December 12th 2014


20077 Comments


Great work my friend pos. Honestly I've always hated his vocals haha

Snake.
December 12th 2014


21391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pos

Faraudo
December 12th 2014


2654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Been waiting for this one, have a pos.

Digging: White Lies - Five

tommygun
December 12th 2014


26843 Comments


poz

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2014


41235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Thanks for all the pos's's's fellasss

@Arcade that's a great album too so I look forward to you. Maybe my curse has passed on to you?!?!?!

It's only ten tracks, probably doesn't even reach 40 minutes long so it's not a huge ask

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2014


41235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I think you are too

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2014


41235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

this will most likely be my reviewing style from now on in an effort to cut out all the excess

no constructive criticisms from jac?

reported

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2014


41235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

you get a pass this time but it better be the first thing you do in the morning or I'm leaving

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2014


41235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I learned from the best :D

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2014


41235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

You're the leanest greenest meanest machine on this site

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2014


41235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

it's not enough

sharkmsc
December 13th 2014


163 Comments


I am excited to listen to this. I already had become a believer with the LOVE albums. Although, I don't really like the quoted lyric...

Feather
April 6th 2016


5083 Comments


I really like this album cover

MrGarland
April 21st 2016


215 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I pray like the kids do in hell" Exceptional lyricism from Tom Delonge.



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