Words by Matt Gabites
Picture this. You are sitting in the hot seat of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, about to get the final question, for a million dollars!
“Which member of the alternative pop/rock band Angels & Airwaves is a member of the rock n roll hall of fame? Is it
A- Tom Delonge
B- David Kennedy
C- Ilan Rubin
D- Matt Rubano”
Without breaking a sweat and ignoring the 50/50 option still available, you confidently exclaim. “A, it has to be A. That bloke from Blink-182 has sold 50 million albums worldwide, A!”
The host pulls that same face that dad does when his tongue is wrestling last night’s steak out from his molar.
“Oooh unfortunately it was C, Ilan Rubin. Sucks to be you”
And that ridiculous preamble should give you some idea of the talent at this band’s disposal. Not only is Rubin a Hall of Famer for his work on the drums with N.I.N (the youngest ever living inductee by the way) but he has also done musical scores for movies. A fact worth remembering when listening to Angels & Airwaves latest release, Lifeforms.
Because this is an album, while it has its fair share of stand alone songs, is best enjoyed in its entirety. Deserving of the chance, to not be listened to on shuffle, but rather given the time to reveal itself as the soundscape that it truly is.
Timebomb sets the tone for what is to come with its synth/robotic vocal intro leading into a verse that perfectly sets the scene for this album’s hallmark, great choruses.
Euphoria is perhaps the heaviest song to feature here, with its crashing chords and drums adding to the synthesizer driven atmospherics.
And then Spellbound volunteers itself as the lead off single for any future John Hughes movie remakes.
Just as No More Guns states its case to be the soundtrack for any major soft drink companies ad campaign this summer. The upbeat tone of this song screams for surfboards, cut off denim shorts and a dog with different coloured eyes to be jumping out of a dune buggy as frosty refreshments are enjoyed by the over oiled beach volleyballers in the background.
Losing My Mind gives a slightly quicker take on what happened when U2 left The Edge alone in the studio one night and found Numb waiting for them in the morning. But then again, Tom DeLonge can actually sing, and the chorus proves this beyond doubt.
Automatic shows the world what The Cure would sound like if only they would cheer up a bit and hug it out. Vocals and drums take centre stage for the opening moments of Restless Souls, building momentum toward a chorus just begging to be enjoyed by a stadium full of bouncing, glow stick waving fans.
Not sure if Rebel Girl is a tribute to Shannon Doherty or not, but it sure as hell would be the perfect song to be played over the opening credits of any show she has ever appeared on.
Speaking of Hall of Famers, A Fire in a Nameless Town is the kind of song that a latter-day Genesis would devise a quirky video for and then sit back and count the royalties.
Kiss & Tell drives Lifeforms home, and as far as closing tracks go it does a tremendous job of summing up the 33 minutes that came before it.
Even with a more guitar driven sound it still has enough synth, incredible drum fills (and yet another bloody catchy chorus) to stay true to this band, and albums, D.N.A.
Angels & Airwaves may not be heavy, but they are a rare example of a band not content with just coasting on the coattails of their former band’s glories. As admirable as that may be, it means absolutely nothing if the final product doesn’t stack up.
Rest assured, Lifeforms absolutely does.