REVIEW: Angels and Airwaves – ‘The Dream Walker’

TheDreamWalker

Artist: Angels and Airwaves
Title: The Dream Walker
Label: To the Stars
Genre: Alternative Rock

I’m going to spare all of you my history with this band. I have had various opinions about Angels and Airwaves for many years, and it’s all come to a pinnacle with the release of The Dream Walker.

Objectivity was tough in this situation when it came to writing a review, especially as a blink-182 fanboy. Well, I did, kind of. When you go and listen to this album, do what I did. Set aside your Enema of the State obsession and stop wishing for a second Boxcar Racer album. Put away the nostalgia for a minute.

One of the more expected complaints about this album is going to be production. But let’s be real. If we’re going to expect production levels to be minimal on this, we’re kidding ourselves. Instead think about how the production adds to the overall experience. The full, in your face sound is what makes this album and what AVA has always been about; stadium rock. Songs like “The Disease” and “Kiss With a Spell” sound like they’re straight out of the 80s and they contain such thick production that taking it down even a notch would recreate the entire song.

Another thing that you can expect to hear from the haters is how it just sounds like blink-182 minus Mark and Travis with more synths. With defense in mind, I say “So what?” We all know that Tom was in both bands. You’re always going to think that. “But he reuses melodies from old blink songs?” All artists do this. Some bands rip off melodies from other bands. It happens. And we all know we couldn’t possibly get through an Angels and Airwaves album without the sometimes embarrassing “bah bah bahbahbah bahs” that have become classic of Tom to deliver. [For the record, we get them in the first track, “Teenager’s and Rituals.”] So, just erase all that negativity from your minds.

Tom’s songwriting itself has advanced, but builds on some of his signature short-phrased, cryptic messages in songs like “Paralyzed” and “The Wolfpack.” I personally think “The Wolfpack” is one of the best songs Tom has ever written. Hang me out to dry if you will, but the passion is intense, and you can hear it in his voice; plus the song has the desperation and self-awareness to it. The driving guitar rhythms in songs like “Mercenaries” and “Anomaly,” both intrinsically different, but both show two of Tom’s strengths, the ability to craft a simple, powerful, instrumental track with intense direction, as well as technicalities in minuscule ways to surprise even the biggest fans, respectively.

Along with Tom’s obvious presence, Ilan Rubin has become a driving force in the creation of this album, and he leaves his mark all over the record. Even on a lackluster track like “Tremors,” and then again on “The Disease,” where his drumming is so powerful that one might suggest that Travis [Barker] tagged in for a song.

Moral of the story: you will either love it or hate it. The inability to see beyond preconceived notions will ruin this album for you, but if you can get outside of that box, and continue to fall in love with the music of Tom Delonge, as I have for well over fifteen years, this will be another great record to add to the collection. This album is a collection of songs, that through the ups and the downs, coalesces into a great work of art and begs to be heard, as well as deserves it.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Corey From

Corey From

Corey From, from Kansas City, MO, when not thinking about or listening to music, obsessively thinks about Royals baseball, a platter of ribs (or BBQ in general) and cold beer. Nothing special really.
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  • Singh

    love it.