Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
An Original, Genre Mixing, Alternative Rock-Hop-Electronica Album
on January 31, 2012
This band is rising fast!... Every few years a band comes along that changes the alternative music scene, and becomes an inspiration for many new bands to come... I think AWOLnation may be one of those bands...
AWOLnation has a truly original sound and unique voice in Aaron Bruno (signer / lead songwriter) His vocal skills are eminent and range a variety of genres... he can sing catchy melodies, break out into staccato vocal beats, rise to epic emotional rock screams, drop back into a rap line, and then into a multi piece gospel harmony with backup vocals and instruments... and often, all these vocal styles in a single song. The result is a great variety and range of pace and emotion.
The rest of the band is very good as well.. including Blind Melon guitarist Chris Thorn... and even though the music is heavily Pro-Tools produced, AWOLnation manages to pull off really great live performances.. (check out YouTube for various live tracks) .... the true test of their musicianship.
In addition to nailing the cross pollination of several genres, writing catchy melodies, and having great production values, I will also say that this band does a great job of writing songs that "breathe" well... they deftly allow space in between beats and melodies to give the downbeats and changes a great effect. Translation: They get your head bobbing!
The entire album is very good... I've listened through it several dozen times now. It's well worth the purchase.
FIRST LISTEN HITS:
-> "SAIL" (5/5 stars)
Their first single / radio hit... a dark sounding song combining ripping electronic synth bass, staccato string chops, catchy guitar arpeggios, and a combination of great vocal melodies and heavy angst filled vocals. This was the song that convinced me to buy the album in the first place... probably like most.
-> "GUILTY FILTHY SOUL" (5/5 stars)
I loved this song as soon as I heard it... opening with a catchy guitar riff that breaks down into a killer beat. Great vocals and vocal variation. Great melodies, interesting lyrics, catchy electronic synth piano, and production effects. I'd say this is the best track on the album. iTunes says I've listened to it 37 times.
-> "NOT YOUR FAULT" (5/5 stars)
Their latest single / radio hit... Features a great combo of synth keyboard and bass parts, with a variety of genres. Great vocal performance with heavy angst filled chorus and catchy melodic verses. Its a fun, dancey song. Great recording/production.
THE NEXT SONGS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION
These songs caught my interest and replay buttons after the second or third listen through.
-> "KNIGHTS OF SHAME" (5/5 stars)
It's not often that a 10+ minute song is even attempted by bands these days... indeed, anything longer than 5 minutes is rare... it goes against commercial recommendations of the labels, and basically guarantees no radio play... which is too bad, but thats for another discussion. Knights of Shame is an epic song that goes through many great sections. This song showcases the huge variety of sound that AWOLnation is able to produce. Electronica, Pop, Cartoon Indie, Drum and Bass, Rap, Funk, Gorillaz-esque Hip-Hop, Rock, Space Synth... this song has a little bit of everything... and its doesn't feel gimmicky... its solid all the way through 12 min.
-> "JUMP ON MY SHOULDERS" (4/5 stars)
More great combination of shakin' beats with electronica synth and a variety of vocals.
-> "WAKE UP" (4/5 stars)
A combination of heavy beats that will shake your body and melodic Jamiroquai-esque breakdowns.
The rest of the tracks are very good as well (3/5) to (4/5) tracks. My recommendation: get this album. I appreciate it as a fan of a many genres of music, and as a musician myself.
AWOLnation is currently touring. I'm hoping their sophomore album will be as inspired as this one is, and not be too far off in the future.