AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Airborne Toxic Event, The - All at Once Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.75
Musicianship 7.75
Lyrics 7
Production 7.75
Creativity 7
Lasting Value 7.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Final Verdict: 76%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.75
Musicianship 6.75
Lyrics 6.75
Production 6.75
Creativity 6.75
Lasting Value 6.75
Reviewer Tilt 6.75
Average: 68%

Airborne Toxic Event, The - All at Once

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (04/27/11)
The Airborne Toxic EventAll at Once
Record Label: Island
Release Date: April 26, 2011

I must admit to having something of a soft spot for The Airborne Toxic Event. It all started with “Sometime Around Midnight”, a tune that surprisingly shot into the top five at alternative radio. While at once laughable on the surface due to its openly confessional (and pathetic) protagonist, it seemed to resonate with a wide audience, which I’m pretty sure is because many of us have little difficulty remembering a time when we were just that fucking pathetic, and because rarely does a slice-of-life song capture a moment quite so vividly (suck it, “Mr. Brightside”!). And as it turned out, the band’s self-titled album was full of anthems for the sad, plastered bastard. Luckily for those not into all the somberness, their sonic milieu is decidedly more universal: lively guitar-pop. More specifically, lively guitar-pop that eludes easy comparison, as there are moments on the debut that are evocative of Titus Andronicus as well as those that recall The Smiths.

The L.A.-based band are back with a new sophomore release, which seems to document them still trying to be everything to everyone, and this time out, it doesn’t seem to work out quite as favorably. It’s not that All at Once isn’t a likable record; it just seems rather scattershot, and none of it captures the hard-hitting intensity of their debut’s best cuts. There are certainly tracks that emerge from the same emotional place. On the title track, frontman Mikel Jollett sings of being “left weary and scarred from the nights spent feeling incomplete,” while on “Half of Something Else,” he laments “years spent alone searching for something to make you whole.” And on the apty named “Numb”, Jollett is once again his old soused self (“if I drink tonight, I’ll get you off my mind”). But even these come off sounding a little limp and can’t quite portray the crushing heartbreak as well as we know this band can. Elsewhere, The Airborne Toxic Event exercise their chameleonic skills trying their hand at raucous Gaslight Anthem-style nostalgia (“It Doesn’t Mean a Thing”), synth-infused Social Distortion-esque political commentary (“Welcome to Your Wedding Day”) and plain-old jangly Cure worship (“Strange Girl”, which even name-drops Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and makes references to smeared eyeliner). Unfortunately, none of it is particularly distinctive or memorable.

All at Once isn’t without its charms, though, as the band prove they still know how to craft radio-ready jingles, turning in the single “Changing”, which like the self-titled’s “Does This Mean You’re Moving On”, adds some uptempo flair and an addictive guitar line to bring some spice to a song with otherwise less-than-chipper lyrics. Unfortunately, it’s the odd duck on an album that gets bogged down in its own seriousness. The Airborne Toxic Event was a big-sounding grand gesture of an album, and not surprisingly, the band—now wielding a major label deal—were aiming even bigger this time around. I’ve never been one to begrudge or belittle a band for shooting for the stars. I also can’t help but be disappointed when they don’t quite hit their mark.

RIYLLow vs. Diamond’s Low vs. Diamond; The Killers’ Sam’s Town; Young the Giant’s Young the Giant


Track Listing1. All at Once (5:16)
2. Numb (4:05)
3. Changing (3:20)
4. All for a Woman (3:45)
5. It Doesn’t Mean a Thing (2:07)
6. The Kids Are Ready to Die (4:11)
7. Welcome to Your Wedding Day (3:42)
8. Half of Something Else (4:39)
9. Strange Girl (3:24)
10. All I Ever Wanted (4:18)
11. The Graveyard Near the House (4:55)


Preview/Buy the album at Amazon MP3.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 24.
08:55 PM on 04/27/11
#2
Jeremy Aaron
Offline
User Info.
Jeremy Aaron's Avatar
I expected to really love this album, but I only kinda like it. Wah wah.
10:22 PM on 04/27/11
#3
trojanick
they all got boyfriends anyway
Offline
User Info.
trojanick's Avatar
Once I heard "Changing", I had high expectations for this record, but from what I've listened to it hasn't lived up to them (or that song, which is just a killer single).

Interesting band though, they were on Mark Hoppus' show a few weeks ago and the lead singer is a former fiction writer and just seemed really intelligent.
02:06 AM on 04/28/11
#4
drzafs
spinning free
Offline
User Info.
drzafs's Avatar
I'll still check this out, I liked a good amount of the last album.
06:28 AM on 04/28/11
#5
FifteenFleeting
Fifteen Fleeting
Offline
User Info.
FifteenFleeting's Avatar
Off Topic:

looking at your RIYL - whatever happened to Low Vs Diamond?
07:04 AM on 04/28/11
#6
spleen
We dance like fucking animals
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
It's not as amazing as their s/t but overall, it's a good album. I was just a little disappointed.
07:22 AM on 04/28/11
#7
GoWaitInTheCar
The World Won't Listen.
Online
User Info.
GoWaitInTheCar's Avatar
Generally speaking, I'm disappointed with this record. I think All I Ever Wanted could possibly be my song of the year so far but with that said, I'm not super into many others. It's going to get plays regardless of the situation but it certainly hasn't instantly hit me like their Self Titled did.
08:45 AM on 04/28/11
#8
dash64
^^^&&&&/////
Offline
User Info.
dash64's Avatar
Great record. Starts off strong, but doesn't seem to end that way. Maybe it's just me
09:28 AM on 04/28/11
#9
AC91
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Interesting band though, they were on Mark Hoppus' show a few weeks ago and the lead singer is a former fiction writer and just seemed really intelligent.

Apparently the story behind the first album is that he was going to make it into a novel, but decided it sounded better to music so wrote it for the CD instead.

As for this album, I really enjoyed it. I didn't expect it to be that great, but it was better than I had assumed. It just has a good sound going throughout. There is obviously no Sometime Around Midnight type hit, but as a whole I think I might be enjoying it more than their first.
09:30 AM on 04/28/11
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
Offline
User Info.
Jeff_Ryan's Avatar
I'm totally indifferent to this band but I hope the Pitchfork review is hilarious
09:51 AM on 04/28/11
fsmith84
Lock and load
Offline
User Info.
fsmith84's Avatar
Great record. Starts off strong, but doesn't seem to end that way. Maybe it's just me
I don't think the best tracks are at the end (it's all downhill for me after "Welcome To Your Wedding"), but "The Graveyard Near the House" is probably one of the better songs on the album. Could just be me.
12:56 PM on 04/28/11
BornUnderPunches
I am not a dirty god
Offline
User Info.
BornUnderPunches's Avatar
Saw this band on some late-night show the other day and it reminded me of Arcade Fire if they were to just go "fuck it. We don't care anymore."
04:35 PM on 04/28/11
dash64
^^^&&&&/////
Offline
User Info.
dash64's Avatar
I don't think the best tracks are at the end (it's all downhill for me after "Welcome To Your Wedding"), but "The Graveyard Near the House" is probably one of the better songs on the album. Could just be me.
I fully agree that it's a good closer. I just wish a majority of the tracks had the same feel as the first three.
05:46 PM on 04/28/11
zman444
kew d00d
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
I'm totally indifferent to this band but I hope the Pitchfork review is hilarious

Can't wait for that.
08:20 PM on 04/28/11
fna4
Registered Member
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
If this band skipped some of the pretension they could be a pretty damn good rock band.
Options
More From This Author

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Submit News
CONNECT
Forums
Contests
RSS
Mobile Version
Banners, Flyers, Widgets
HIDDEN TREASURES
Free Music
Video News
Sports Forum
AP.net Related News
Recommendations
INFORMATION
FAQ
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm