Front man of Blink-182 Tom DeLonge has never held back when it comes to his passion and ambitions for his other band Angels and Airwaves. Before the bands first album debut back in 2006 DeLonge claimed that We Don’t Need To Whisper would change the face of rock forever and be “the greatest rock and roll revolution for this generation”. Now after the release of their fifth studio release, accompanied by a graphic novel, comic books and a short film, DeLonge has created more of a multimedia phenomenon rather than just an album with a few music videos. The Dream Walker mixes synths and heavy rock in a project they said they wanted to be darker; have “more angst” than they’ve ever had in an album before.
The first single released from The Dream Walker was “Paralyzed”. A song filled with background synths and percussion, with plenty of layering delivering the atmospheric sound, a theme played through out all of Angels & Airwaves’ previous albums, contrasted with a distorted bassline. Although it follows the same space orientated feel that DeLonge has shown in all of his projects, and personal life, is a strong interest of his, this song isn’t as deliberate and pretentious as AVA’s older material.
Leading with a layered keyboard synth and driven by a harmonious bass line, the second single “The Wolfpack” is all about the journey not only the band have taken since their inception, but also the journey Tom DeLonge has taken on his own (“finding a light in a world of ruin”). This song shows perfectly the steps AVA have taken from repeated guitar riffs accompanied by additional effects, and standard piano intro and outro’s, to a true piece of art that both DeLonge and multi-instrumentalist collaborator Iian Rubin can be proud of.
Another single the band released prior to the album dropping was “Tunnels” which takes a sort of left turn compared to the rest of the album, yet still managing to keep in the overall theme of the project DeLonge has created. Written about the death of Tom’s father, the song gives a spiritual, warm, comforting feeling (“don’t you go, come a little bit closer now, if you like, when you die”). A true emotional and sincere ballad delivered with a soft melody and raw lyrics of a true, very real pain.
“Kiss With A Spell” has a dark melody running over it and an eerie 80’s synth giving AVA it’s most mechanized song to date. “Mercenaries” and “Disease” have the huge melodies, growing harmonies and the expected space elements from AVA are all there, but on this album nothing outstays it’s welcome. Making their new sound so much better for it. The album closes with an acoustic track “Anomaly”, which is surprising after an album filled with heavy distorted basslines, electric keyboards and vibrant riffs. Yet the new style fits in and is composed with ease. The song is a reminder of DeLonge’s early days in blink-182, a sweet love song built on simplicity but now containing the streak of maturity from the California singer-songwriter that he has developed over the years.
The Dream Walker has silenced the haters and Tom DeLonge has finally found his artistic stride with this project. With indie, post hardcore rock, atmospheric layering and an acoustic ending all swirled and mixed up into one album there is something for everyone, old Angel and Airwaves fans and new.
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Review by Jess Lofthouse | @jessslofthouse