Angels and Airwaves has finally released its new album, The Dream Walker. Over the past month, they’ve been slowly releasing tracks off the album, constantly increasing my anticipation for it EVERY SINGLE DAY. As their 5th studio album, The Dream Walker follows up AVA’s Love that was released in 2011.
After listening to it on repeat throughout my busy day of procrastinating for my finals, I can confidently say that my ever-increasing expectations were met, for the most part, with this album. The singles that were released from the album all indicated that Tom and the crew were taking a rather different musical direction then they usually do. I mean, we’re talking about a guy who made his way into the spotlight playing power chords over and over again in the punk rock band Blink 182, to moving onto a kind of alternative, U2-ish sounding rock band. As you can imagine, he’s probably been exposed to a variety of musical influences. That being said, the product of his many years of musical ventures certainly has variety.
The Track List
Getting right down into it, the album opens with the title “Teenagers and Rituals”, which is an ok song, but it doesn’t stand out compared to the rest of the song on the album. Ignoring that, I went onto the next track, “Paralyzed”, which was actually the first single for the album. Once I heard this song, I knew this album would be good. It has an explosive opening that one would come to expect from an Angel’s and Airwaves song and it quickly moves into the rhythmic tones from the spacey sounding guitars and Tom’s gliding vocals. Following “Paralyzed” was “The Wolfpack”, again another single that was released prior to the full album. Not a bad song, but it took me a few listens to get into it. It has pretty trippy lyrics and a strange video as well (check the lyrics out here).
The next track, “Tunnels”, is easily one of my favorites from the album. A song that was initially written about doubting religion turned into something else when Tom awoke to a strange sensation as he describes as “though someone injected me with a gallon of methamphetamines and Ecstasy with electricity” (yup, that’s Tom for ya) the night that his father passed away. The song begins with rather modest and solemn sounding vocals and around the 1:20 mark it elevates with Tom bringing the vocals up an octave. Check it out here:
Next up are “Kiss with a Spell” and “Mercenaries”. “Kiss with a Spell” was really the only song I didn’t care for on the entire album. “Mercenaries” was decent, it has a somewhat catchy chorus with an interesting chorus rhythm. Following “Mercenaries” is “Bullets in the Wind”, one of the best on the album. It opens with a very different vibe for an AVA song and continues on with more upbeat, dance-inducing verses. The chorus is extremely catchy and instantly gets stuck in your head all day after one listen. The music is really a great match for Tom’s vocal stresses.
Finally, the last 3 songs “The Disease”, “Tremors” and “Anomaly” come up. The first two are pretty good, with “Tremors” probably ending up as maybe my second favorite on the album. It has such a classic Angels and Airwaves sound with the reverberating chords being matched with Tom’s echoing voice. After “Tremors” is “Anomaly”, a very new direction for Angels and Airwaves. Being the only acoustic song on the album, it immediately stands out. Tom uses his vocal abilities appropriately as he keeps his range in check. He doesn’t go off into crazy world with his sometimes quirky stresses and enunciations. “Anomaly” is a great ending song for the album.
In addition, the album is paired with short animated film titled Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker. Here’s the trailer:
Overall, The Dream Walker is a very solid album. You can really tell how the band has grown since its inception with the hiatus of Blink 182, even if they have lost and gained a few members along the way. The combination of Tom Delonge’s crazy musical ideas being combined with Ilan Rubin’s “Trent Reznor-Depeche Mode approach” is really quite interesting. If you were a fan of Blink 182’s last album Neighborhoods, or any of the past AVA albums, you’ll be sure to appreciate this one. Another great piece of work delivered by the crazy mind of Tom Delonge. Go get it, now.