Arts & Culture / Mosaic / Reviews / April 8, 2015

Average Bear Reviews: AWOLNation hits right notes on latest record

Graphic by Griffin Belzer/TKS

Graphic by Griffin Belzer/TKS

AWOLNation surprised everyone when they released their monstrous “Sail” upon the world. Though the single had great success, their debut album “Megalithic Symphony” was a bit lackluster, but there were certainly gems riddled throughout. With their latest attempt, the band tried to focus on a consistent sound and ended up creating a masterpiece.

1. “Run”

This track is so strange, yet so beautiful. With the reoccurring “I am a human being, capable of doing terrible things” being sung on repeat, it sets a very ominous tone for the album. When the track breaks, all hell breaks loose and the song becomes a new monster. There is so much complexity riddled in this single track, it’s breathtaking.

2. “Fat Face”

With a sudden change of pace, the album switches to a slow ballad. It’s pretty basic throughout (light guitars and a steady drum beat) and honestly isn’t the most exciting track. Why it works, though, is due to the incredibly dense “Run”. This track gives the listener relief to the ear and lets you relax, like taking a nap after a long day at work. It’s hard to describe in words, but that’s the way it is.

3. “Bad Wolf”

Being the initial single off the album, this track gave me hope for this album as a whole. The strange blend of funk groove into a fast-paced freeverse just keeps me coming back. The instrumental arrangement here is spot on, and screaming lyrics in the bridge are intense and beautiful.

4. “Jailbreak”

I cannot give this song enough praise. The hard-hitting pace coupled with the straining vocals create a match made in heaven. It’s as soft as butter and as smooth as silk. There is a simple element of sincerity laced throughout that keeps it feeling alive. This track is as good as it gets.

5.”KOOKSEVERYWHERE!!!”

The initial sound this track lays out is a bit intimidating, but once the chorus hits it all makes sense. In true AWOL fashion, the tempo goes from fast to mellow in the kick of a bass drum, but it makes it that much more interesting. Give this one a chance and you might find yourself in the same boat as me.

6. “I Am”

The song begins slowly and breaks into an extremely powerful chorus that will stay with you. The pacing is perfect, and the range of vocals here is quite impressive. The only part that doesn’t work is the strange “someone left the lights on” chant towards the end, but it quickly fades away.

7. “Headrest for My Soul”

Here, the band turns to a straight acoustic vibe and keeps it simple. The song is comprised of repeating guitar chords and a soulful vocal melody that pair perfectly to create a track that is very easy on the ears.

8. “Dreamers”

Unfortunately, the album hits its first road block here on “Dreamers”. To put it simply, the track is just too aggressive. The vocals are rough and in your face and the track never seems to take a break. This can be good in moderation, but an entire track comprised of harsh musicality amongst an album striving towards beauty just doesn’t fit.

9. “Windows”

With a sigh of relief, the album kicks back into the original groove and knows exactly where it wants to go. “Windows” is insane. It switched back and forth between styles frequently. It feels as though you are listening to three different songs blended into one, but in the best way possible.

10. “Holy Roller”

Though this track doesn’t do anything particularly wrong, I found it to be a little lackluster. With slow paced lyrics and a soft guitar melody playing throughout, this track is basically what you’d expect. It does pick up the pace a bit in the second half, but ultimately feels stale.

11. “Woman Woman”

I adore what the band did with this track. It has this goofy 80’s vibe to it that comes off a little silly, but sincere. The chorus is as catchy as it gets, and the track in total lets the album get the refreshing dose it needed.

12. “Lie Love Live Love”

This is a song that knows how to use word play to its advantage. The song has a steady vibe and sounds nice, but it’s the chorus that pastes it all together. The strange word coupling of “Lie Love Live Love” gets you singing it to yourself over and over.

13. “Like People, Like Plastic”

The band again decides to go a bit aggressive, but it is much less forced here and works well. The track feels like it wants to be crazy in the beginning, but smoothes out to a soothing melody. In the final few moments the aggressive nature is reprised, and the song leaves you feeling dazed and confused, but in a wonderful way.

14. “Drinking Lightning”

The band closes the album with what can only be described as an epic. The somber tone is eerie and beautiful. Vocally, the track relies on harmonizing and soft crooning, which lays an extra layer of depth upon the track as a whole.There is a surprising simplicity in instrumentation that benefits the track overall. With a rush of drums in the final third, the song closes, leaving you breathless.

 

Favorite Track

Drinking Lightning

 

Final Thoughts

AWOLNation have proved on this album that they are much more than a successful single. The atmosphere and overall complexity of this album is groundbreaking and shows the world how much talent this band has. Kudos, AWOLNation. You’ve created a classic.

 

Rating

9/10

Mitch Prentice, Mosaic Editor

Tags:  AWOLNation music reviews

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