It’s been a rough go for The Airborne Toxic Event on my blogs after their self-titled debut, which got five [clowns]. Their second album was All At Once, which had great songs but horrible sound. Then there was Such Hot Blood, which pretty much just sucked. And somewhere in there was their meh live album. So they’d been on a steady and marked decline since that awesome debut. I had just about given up.
And because of that, I’m sure, they went in a totally different direction and basically released another awesome debut album. I say debut album because this is sonically so different from their prior releases. Far more electronic, far less guitar and drums, Dope Machines sounds like its lyrical themes: feeling closer to our devices than we do to our human community (hence the album title) and the alienation and isolation that come with that.
Still, the band doesn’t take the easy route with that and write a bunch of distant, disaffected songs. No, the emotional presence, the raw nerves, those things are all still the same old The Airborne Toxic Event. The drum machines and synthesizers are beautiful and come together with personal, relateable lyrics about youth, relationships, love, and heartbreak to juxtapose such powerful emotion against such stark thematic imagery in a way that makes it all even more powerful.
The biggest problem with this album is that the quality goes way down for the last four tracks. I don’t even know if it goes down all that much, as I like every song here, and I kind of appreciate that they lumped the worst songs together at the end because it makes me so excited to listen to it every time, knowing I’m in for a good 20-25 minutes of awesomeness before coming back to Earth.
The Airborne Toxic Event is back. I hope.
Mix: “Wrong,” “One Time Thing”
Really Like: “Dope Machines,” “Time To Be A Man,” “Hell And Back”
Like: “My Childish Bride,” “The Thing About Dreams,” “Something You Lost,” “Chains”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Wrong –
- One Time Thing – the best one probably
- Dope Machines – chorus is the best part
- Time To Be A Man – big 80’s synthpop. the begin is so awesome.
- Hell And Back
- My Childish Bride – there may not be any guitar at all here
- The Thing About Dreams – Too long. the line about whiskey rye clanks
- Something You Lost – flows right into from last song
- Chains – nice ending