AWOLNATION
Angel Miners and the Lightning Riders


3.2
good

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
April 27th, 2020 | 13 replies


Release Date: 04/24/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Flawed, but catchy...

AWOLNATION are quite a divisive band, as front man’s Aaron Bruno’s quirky blend of sonic styles usually either draws people in or puts them off. All the electronic and rock elements are always filtered through his pop sensibility, rendering the songs anywhere from enjoyable to obnoxious. I am sure a fair number of people wouldn’t have bet their money on the group to still be active in 2020. Thankfully, there was always more to them than a couple of infectious singles per album. In fact, the guys have developed a trademark sound, no matter how messy it is. The latest material, Angel Miners and the Lightning Riders checks all the usual features:

- Songs that reach from piano bar ditties to disco (‘Slam’) and hard rock tantrums (‘I’m a Wreck’);
- High school musical singalongs (‘Pacific Coast Highway in the Movies’), peppered with short, chaotic freak-outs (‘Battered, Black & Blue’ or ‘Half Italian’);
- Vocals range from pristine falsettos to manic screaming, with unexpected switching between them;
- ADHD-esque change of tempos, grooves or breakdowns;
- Catchy pop numbers and lush ballads (‘The Best’ and ‘California Halo Blue’, respectively);
- Lyrics ranging from touching, motivational to self-deprecating and ultimately, nonsense, spiced with a bipolar touch;
- A hovering, paranoid vibe which won’t shake off;
- Ominous (((((((Reverb))))))) and dynamic production, which can also have negative effects on the tunes - e.g. muffled vocals, certain layers sound murky;

Long story short, the album sums up pretty much everything AWOLNATION indulged in so far. The actual rock leanings on Here Come the Runts revealed some unexplored potential, thus creating a somewhat cohesive listen. However, you can't help but feel as if Bruno is his own enemy on this record. His passion, honesty and dedication cannot be denied, yet he often tries to incorporate too many things into one piece of music. Stretch that to 40 minutes and you receive a nauseous experience that inevitably leaves many listeners confused. Then why bother listening to Angel Miners and the Lightning Riders? At best, you’re hooked and realize some of the tracks have really nice melodies and boast replay value. I find them occasionally refreshing, fun, uplifting or just guilty pleasures. If they don’t move or simply put you off, it’s easy to forget about them and move on.




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user ratings (21)
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2020


5119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

I'm gonna get flayed for this, but I wanted to write something about them. Obviously, there are flaws, but a large portion of their songs are at least guilty pleasures. Still, this is probably the weakest in the discography so far. Also, no need for elitism here. Favorite songs are 'The Best', 'Slam', 'California Halo Blue', 'I'm a Wreck' and 'Lightning Riders'.



Stream here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-A43Av9ICo&list=OLAK5uy_lHr1ltnN4CPPFIRcFfFauFsdWnK24i9Zs

Digging: Boris - NO

Willie
Moderator
April 27th 2020


18808 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nice review. I never bothered with them before this, and I don't know if I will... but I like that you went against convention with your rating.

Digging: Make Them Suffer - How to Survive a Funeral

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2020


5119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Thank you. I listened to every album they released more than I thought so. Maybe Here Come the Runts became my favorite because it is more consistent overall. From the first listen bits of 'Slam' and 'The Best' got stuck in my head and I played them every day at least once. I appreciate Aaron for sticking to his guns no matter what people say.

Sinternet
April 27th 2020


22517 Comments


I think California Halo Blue is the only song by him I've ever enjoyed, maybe i'll check your track picks out later

great review!

Digging: Jessie Ware - What's Your Pleasure?

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2020


57275 Comments


haven't heard this band since their debut but that was the hardest 1 I've ever given

bobbydylan
April 28th 2020


141 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I had no clue they had any albums since Megalithic Symphony, but this ones alright. good review.

hobblepot
April 28th 2020


2452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have a real soft spot for this band. Idk, every album you can tell Aaron has his heart in this. Even if some of his output isn’t great, he clearly cares about this craft

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2020


25748 Comments


Never thought I'd see an awolnation album in 2020 let alone a front page review

VigorRos
April 28th 2020


7 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is fun

garas
April 28th 2020


4540 Comments


Is that a ... beholder on the cover?! (D&D monster)
*nerdism intensifies*

Digging: Mora Prokaza - By Chance

Spikel
April 29th 2020


59 Comments


Run was a pretty cool song by them a few years ago. I didn't care for the folksy single off their last album, dunno if I've ever listened to a whole album. I know I listened to a few off whatever album Run was on like Woman, and they were pretty good. I'm curious to check this out

Spec
May 1st 2020


35952 Comments


hearing "the best" over and over again at the nhl all-star game pretty much ruined it for me

PistolPete
May 16th 2020


5156 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This ones definitely more fun than Runts was.



FIIIIEEEESTA FEVER RUNNING THROUGH MY BRAAAAAIINNN

Digging: Moanaa - Torches



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