It was going to be, but I realized I could sum it up easily. This album takes everything that was good about music from the 80’s, smooshes it together and sprinkles it in glitter. Just go buy the darn thing, it’s awesome, and let me move onto The Airborne Toxic Event.
The Airborne Toxic Event is based out of Los Angeles, CA so despite the fact that their self-titled album has been out since August it just made its way onto WEQX out here on the east coast. What do they sound like? Remember that really sweet spot that existed in 80’s new wave music when it would overlap with Goth music? (I think there is some hipster name for that specific genre, like dark wave, or Goth wave, or something.) You know, the way you could dance to Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” knowing full well it was sort messed up to do so. Most of their album reminds me of that. Musically the album is cool. They have a full time violinist, which is always good in a rock band. While listening to it I feel certain I could totally bust out my Molly Ringwald 80’s white girl dance, which believe it or not is a good thing.
Lyrically I find myself feeling like The Octopus from the trailer for The Spirit: “What is it with you and women?” This theme is perfectly encapsulated in the ass kicking song “Sometime Around Midnight”. This song sounds less 80’s but has some tortured shouting towards the end, so it breaks even in my book. The hooking up, getting dumped, pining for women thing is pretty obvious, and fairly staple in rock and roll, I just never felt so hit over the head with it before. Adult me finds it a little tiring, but the teenage me (who I’m in close contact with) finds it kind of hot. It’s all angsty and sexy. Sue me – teenage me wins out more often than I’d like.
A quick trip to the internet provides some back story for this album. According to Wikipedia, “The band was formed in 2006 by Mikel Jollett. During a one-week period in March 2006 while working on a novel, Jollett learned that his mother was diagnosed with cancer, and he also experienced a break-up and was diagnosed with genetic Autoimmune disease. Even though the disease encompasses over 70 different disorders, Autoimmune led Jollet to develop 2 cosmetic conditions: Alopecia areata and Vitiligo. Spurred by these events in his personal life, Jollett turned from writing prose to writing songs, and soon realized he was composing an album instead of a novel.”
Well that explains a lot. Try out “Sometime Around Midnight” and see what you think.
If you want to shake your 80’s groove thang….
By the way, I’m hopelessly amused by The Spirit trailers I’ve seen. How about this one? “Somebody get me a tie! And it sure as hell better be red!”