The Airborne Toxic Event - The Airborne Toxic Event
Record Label: Majordomo Records
Release Date: August 5, 2008
Picture yourself spending your Thursday evening with your friends in a damp, dark New York underground club, where an open poetry exhibition has seized a controlling grip on the night. One nervous, bumbling mess after another stumbles onto the stage and pours his or her heart out into the microphone. As expected, the improvisational lineup reeks of amateurish performances, and the slim audience settles into a vague disinterest, only watching in order to keep tabs on the possibility of a total onstage meltdown. Suddenly, with the night winding down, a troupe of five eccentric but elegantly dressed 20-somethings steps to the mic, sets up an army of sonic manipulators, and begins to seamlessly move the audience from their coffee-laden round tables to the front of the stage, and then to near tears.
The poor poets are today's beloved indie scene, the audience is ourselves as the listening community, and the troupe of five make up The Airborne Toxic Event.
In one of my favorite review quotes I've seen in a while, the LA Times calls The Airborne Toxic Event "poetry you can dance to." Well...review finished. That's really all you need to know about The Airborne Toxic Event. But then, in futile hopes of making my introduction paragraph worthwhile, I shall continue to tell more about this danceable, poetic symbiosis. Lead man Mikel Jollett is an artist at the pen and a master at delivery. I mean, have you ever wondered what would happen if Conor Oberst could sing? Have you ever pondered the effects of Bruce Springsteen upping his performance to the point where you’re as sucked in and consumed as dust to a vacuum? What if Vampire Weekend collaborated with Joy Division? If your interest was piqued by any of these questions, I’d like to recommend an album to you.
The eponym begins with “Wishing Well”, a pulsating thought bubble that compares more to a usually-indescribable feeling than to an emotion or experience. It’s the description-less, anxious boredom that drives us to the brink of insanity as we’re trapped within our minds with nothing else to do. Of course, I can’t do it justice here, nor could I in any other non-prose format. When a song does more than poetry can, that is to say knowing and remembering that you’re at the exact spot in time that Jollett refers to, you come to realize that the rest of the album will likely be a downhill slope.
And so it is, but in brilliantly marginal fashion. Songs like “Papillion” and “Gasoline” make you quite literally want to cry and dance at the same time. Really, they sort of make me want to hear The Bravery cover some Brand New material. Nothing quite the same as mixed emotions tearing you in opposite directions like a storm front collision.
This review is a user submitted review from BalancingacT. You can see all of BalancingacT's submitted reviews here.