Sound — 10
Angels And Airwaves' sophomore album is a beautiful continuation of their debut, We Don't Need To Whisper. I-Empire, a powerful title in itself, begins right where We Don't Need To Whisper ended. Tom Delonge has said that We Don't Need To Whisper is an album about rebirth, and I-Empire is what you do after rebirth. If you have heard the last record, you know Angels And Airwaves has a very unique sound, blending delayed and flanged guitars with powerful drums and a wide variety of snyth sounds. Every part of the sound spectrum is filled with this album. The bands influences seem to shine more on this release, with recognizable sounds of U2 and synth rock bands of the '80s, blended with the pop punk sounds each of the members grew up with. There are a couple of instrumentals on this album, both with very electronic sounds. Though this may sound boring, Angels and Airwaves manages to keep your attention with these well put together instrumentals. The guitar, though vital to their sound, isn't exactly a main instrument, and those who wish to see the guitar shine through in music, may be disappointed with I-Empire.
Lyrics — 8
They lyrics on this album are even better than those on We Don't Need To Whisper. Tom manages to write songs that are to the point, and those that can be interpreted in numerous ways. One track, titled Rite of Spring, is pretty straightforward. It's an autobiography of Tom's life as a teen and how it's affected how he is now. Another track, titled Love Like Rockets, can be interpreted in that a soldier leaves behind his love to go to war and he remembers their final moments and the words they said to each other before he left. It can also be interpreted that love is unpredictable, you never know what to expect. It can take you on the ride of your life. Most of the songs on the album can be interpreted in similar ways, but all are unique in their delivery. I have to compliment Tom's voice on this album. It has improved greatly. He hits a few notes I've never heard Delonge hit in Angels and Airwaves, Boxcar Racer, or Blink 182. On one track entitled Lifeline, Tom hits a high note in the chorus that I never knew he could reach. Overall, the lyrics and singing are great. The only quirk I have is that the phrasing isn't varied as much as it could be.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, I-Empire is one of the greatest alternative rock albums ever released. The lyrics are powerful and the sound is unique. I-Empire is a beautiful follow-up to We Don't Need To Whisper, and takes you on another great adventure. It's safe to say that if you loved the first album, you'll love I-Empire.