I can’t believe that, until now, I haven’t got the chance to review the newest Angels and Airwaves album, The Dream Walker. Their latest effort since 2011’s Love Part II is, maybe, their best so far. I’m not quite sure if this affirmation will stand in a few years or even a few months, but until now I’ve come to terms with it.
This 5th album came with a lineup change, especially with Mr. Ilan Rubin taking over drums and keyboards. Rubin, formerly of Lostprophets and Nine Inch Nails, brought a heavier sound, that gives depth to DeLonge’s aerial vocals in such a manner, it only makes you wonder why the f*ck they waited so long for this collaboration to start.
The new lineup gives a little more organic darkness to the sound, and lyrically speaking, DeLonge’s has kept the same balance as before, albeit a little simpler and poppier. The Dream Walker marks a little more experimentation for the Blink 182 frontman, coupled with electronic sounds bound to keep you playing the album on repeat. I think the best quality of the album is its fresh feeling once you forget about it and you stumble upon it by accident.
Teenagers & Rituals opens up The Dream Walker, leaving you no chance but to speed up with the sound that takes you faster and faster. It’s the kind of song that won’t take no for an answer, it’s raw and young and stupid, just like we were, and while the lyrics aren’t the greatest thing cooked up by Tom, they fit perfectly with the youthful sound of the song. (8.5/10)
Paralyzed was one of the singles that preceded the album, and through the bass line, you get carried away in a split second. This song has such a sense of urgency; it’s quite unbelievable I hated it when I first listened to it. Paralyzed is one of those rare songs that grow on you, even if you hate it at first. It’s demanding, and it has determination, anger and angst – a perfect anthem for Mr. DeLonge. (9/10)
The Wolfpack stands out from all the Angels & Airwaves songs I have ever listened. It has such a buildup, it’s electrifying, to say the least. It’s a perfect song to be played out in the open, and I can’t wait to see the band live, just because of this one song. It can’t hurt that the video is one of the most pop attempts I have ever witnessed from DeLonge, and the lyrics will appeal to both teenagers and adults. (10/10)
Tunnels comes to argue with everything that The Wolfpack was. As far as I know it, the song was inspired by the death of Tom’s father, and maybe because of that I have the feeling that this track is the most personal thing he created with AVA. Tunnels is filled with emotion, sad reality and hope at the same time, and the overall composition – musically and lyrically speaking, seems so mature for Tom. I have to applaud this effort. (10/10)
Have you ever missed Depeche Mode in their glory days? Look no further, then! The same gravity Martin got us used to is employed in Kiss With a Spell. Until I listened to this song, I could’ve sworn my all time favorite track off the album was The Wolfpack, but Kiss With a Spell has such depth and the electronic touch can’t hurt the meaning of the song, so I’ll have it forever on my playlist. (11/10)
Mercenaries is one wicked track. I can’t remember its name, nor I can distinguish its beginning, but around the first and a half minute I start recognizing what I like about it. It’s a weird composition, I never know if I fully love it, or if I hate it with all my power, but one thing I know for sure – I wouldn’t recommend missing it. (8/10)
Bullets in the Wind will come off as a surprise, especially for Interpol or The Editors fans. Ilan Rubin goes wild with the drums, engaging in a wicked rhythm filled with awesomeness – but of course! This song is one of their best and the proof (if you really needed that) that this combo works on many levels. (10/10)
The Disease seems a bit uneven, or maybe uneventful, even though it plays on the dark side of the album, with a little more emphasis on the analysis, and a little more focus on the choice of words. However, even if it’s a great song technically speaking, it doesn’t have the spark. (8/10)
Tremors has the same anthem-y sound I was expecting from the band, and for me it screams “hope and happiness are at your feet”, how can I not love it?! (10/10)
Anomaly, just like its title, is an anomaly. For me, it kinda sounds like Boxing Day, from Blink 182’s 2012 EP, Dogs Eating Dogs. It’s a mellow track, with sad accents, almost emo-ish, but at the same time you can sense a bit of hope at the end of the song. (8/10)
Overall, the album is better than I expected. Thematically, it shows that the band has grown (if you really doubted that until now), musically, DeLonge has allowed himself to explore a little more and it has taken Angels & Airwaves outside their comfort zone, and God! How good they sound outside it!