Love is Lost in Space
- Friday, November 18, 2011
Artist: Angels & Airwaves
Title: Love Album Parts One & Two
Label: Rocket Science
You may need some of those color-coded sticky notes to keep track of all that's going on with Love Album Parts One & Two, the new double release from Angels & Airwaves, better known as Blink-182 member Tom DeLonge's other less punk, more art rock band.
The first half was originally issued as a free download last year; disc two premieres here; and together they serve as the soundtrack to a science fiction film, also called Love, that is available on DVD in a deluxe edition of this project.
According to an official web site, the movie illustrates a connection between two men—"a soldier, caught under the dark cloud of the Civil War" and "more than a century later, a lone Astronaut aboard the International Space Station." As ambitious as that plot sounds, and however good or bad the film may be (it was not screened for this review), the accompanying music feels generally disconnected from any particular story. So we're left with twenty-two songs that strive to be epic but just don't make much sense together.
To be clear, Angels & Airwaves' musicianship isn't the problem; sonically influenced by U2 and Pink Floyd, the performances have plenty of hooks, thrust, and nuance, but the surfer-dude singing style and frustratingly disparate lyrics don't reveal much about love (We are all love, and love is hard—huh?) or serve the space-rock theme to full effect.
Part One has winning moments—a raw yet ethereal rocker ("The Flight of Apollo"), some Relient K guitar energy ("Young London")—and was certainly a steal as a free download. But its charms don't gain anything in partnership with Part Two, where the language worsens (several uses of the f-word), the rhymes are lazier (The ice is really cold, the streetlights really old), and the ‘80s band influences get all the more confusing ("Anxiety" could be Simple Minds; "Behold a Pale Horse" favors Night Ranger).
Even with themes as vast as love and as infinite as the universe, Angels & Airwaves should have set some boundaries—perhaps condensed the better ideas within this work down to a single album or at least separated the catchy pop/rock starbursts from the moodier cosmic jams that feel more soundtrack-like. Existing fans of the band might welcome this generosity of content, but new listeners may just feel lost in space.
*This review first published 11/18/2011
**Listen to this album on Spotify
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