The Airborne Toxic Event – All At Once

May 4, 2011 by  

When I saw The Airborne Toxic Event at Leeds Festival 2009 I was absolutely mesmerized, I knew nothing about them apart from their romance crushing anthem “Sometime Around Midnight” devised for broken hearts around the world. Their debut album of the same name was impressive but lacked the power and emotion I saw them display at Bramham Park. Two years later and there back with ‘All At Once’, an album which ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ should have been.

Like Arcade Fire, The Airborne Toxic Event have a way of building their songs up from an eerie weep to a grandiose finale, and this is how the album starts with the title track “All At Once”. It is a fantastic start to the album as the songs goes from Mikel Jollett drearily singing about the start of life with a church like organ humming in the background, to the crashing of cymbals and bashing of bass drums as he yells about love and death. These are a couple of topics which are prominent throughout the album.

The album continues with “Numb” and the single “Changing” where the band drops their signature orchestral sound and switches their style to catchy hooks and driving guitar sounds. For “Changing” Jolliet’s tone changes from his usual sappy and romantic bleating to a more comic and sarcastic moan as he sings “you would just always talk about changing, changing”. This is a welcoming change in style and he pulls it off effortlessly making the track a standout on the album.

After the punk rhythms of “Welcome to Your Wedding” which sounds like potential Greenday single, comes “Half Of Something Else” which seems to be this albums tear jerker as it is very similar to “Sometime Around Midnight”. Jollett’s lyrics about past love and self-realization are touching, and he is joined by the multi-talented Anna Bulbrock who sweetly adds backing vocals which coincide with the dreamy synths.

The heart churning lyrics, the grand orchestral pieces and raunchy guitar playing is all back but on a bigger level. Whether it’s the production team behind them or just the band finally realising how colossal they can sound in the studio, it’s a huge step up and massive change from their debut.

[rating:3.5]


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