Tuesday 23 May 2017

Music: All At Once by The Airborne Toxic Event **

(Island)

John Meagher

John Meagher

Like Mona LA's gruesomely titled quintet are thinking big.

The first album aspired to arenas. This is aiming for stadia. Everything about All At Once is huge -- the choruses, the production, the words. When you write songs aimed at being sung back by thousands, subtly goes out the window.

The last album (which I over-praised at the time, I'm sorry to say) boasted one stone-cold gem -- Sometime Around Midnight.

This one hasn't a single song as memorable. Instead, there's an aspiration to ape Bruce Springsteen's storytelling gifts but The Airborne Toxic Event can't come close.

Instead of Real World, they're thinking Dawson's Creek.

The singer, Mikel Jollet, meanwhile, sounds like a dead ringer for Will Sheff, frontman of Texan outfit Okkervil River. I had to consult the liner notes to ensure that Sheff hadn't been drafted into the band.

There the similarity ends. While The Airborne Toxic Event will secure all the airplay -- trust me, practically everything here is FM-friendly -- the superior Okkervil River will remain in the fringes.

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