Sound — 8
The Toxic Airborne Event (TATE) was spawned from the shoulders of Mikel Jollett after a series of emotionally crumbling events in his life. His actions following the events became songwriting, rather than the usual mixture of prose, novels, and short stories. The months following the Summer of 2006 led to the recruitment of the remaining members of The Airborne Toxic Event. Since then, TATE has had success over the release of numerous singles and videos as well as the support of a large and growing fan base. The Airborne Toxic Event's self-titled debut album certainly has the music community stirring. Topping the charts on the U.S. Billboard Top Heatseekers, The Airborne Toxic Event has added to their resume a new-found respect from the fans of the post-punk revival scene as well as the recognition of being on par with similar sounding bands like The Rapture and The Strokes. Listeners will find that the album has an overall satisfying mixture of fiery emotion and crashing instrumentals. From the vocals to the drums, the band's mastery of piecing together an ideal record can appropriately be heard through the quality and near perfection featured in every track. Fortunately, the only thing missing from this record is filler. What appealed to me was the album's almost endless intensity. The first track, Wishing Well starts off as a bubbly, laid-back song which quickly spirals into a ball of complete emotion. The album has a kind of snowball effect to it. Once it starts going, the intensity and energy doesn't slow down until Sometime Around Midnight, which doesn't really slow down much at all! Sometime Around Midnight is the album's most unique song, probably one of the more lyrically driven as well. I consider it an intermission, giving the listener some time to recuperate from the excitement of the album's first half (the string ensemble at the beginning softens things up for a little while). However, after about a quarter of the way through Sometime Around Midnight the ball of energy rises once again and follows the album to the end.
Lyrics — 9
When you get into the lyrics of this album, you can really tell that they weren't written just for the sake of being filler. Each song represents carefully thought out ideas, whether it'd be about a downed love bird or a Romeo and Juliet story gone wrong. Just about every bit on envy and heartache is thoroughly depicted through the graininess of Jollett's voice. Listeners will find that the lyrics are lined with enough details and imagery to almost fill a decent sized book! For example, Sometime Around Midnight includes a bit that goes like, (And it starts... Sometime around midnight Or at least that's when You lose yourself For a minute or two As you stand... Under the bar lights And the band plays some song About forgetting yourself for a while And the piano's this melancholy sound check To her smile And that white dress she's wearing You haven't seen her For a while ). The lyrics by TATE are more detailed and colorful than most bands out today. Of course they might not compare to the cryptic language of the legendary Conor Oberst, but when did cryptic language become the standard for good lyrics anyway? The way Jollett pulls off the lyrics combined with the music is second to none and that itself becomes one of the best qualities of the album.
Overall Impression — 8
There isn't much to say that can't be better exemplified about TATE's debut record. What listeners will find is a familiarity true to the genre. A decent-at-best way to describe the band is that they aren't quite as flamboyant as The Killers. On the other hand, they stand noticeably distant to the dark and depressing vibes of She Wants Revenge. Keeping them in a category with a more emotionally/lyrically-conscious version of The Strokes would seemingly fit best. The problems, though not many, lie in the intensity that was formerly talked so highly of. It may be true that the high level of emotion adds to the songs, but the hype dies down quite a bit after a few listens. There are many albums that can be replayed continuously, however, unlike Michael Jackson's Thriller,for example, this album doesn't have that push that keeps people listening. The album also lacks diversity at certain points. All the songs are potentially single-caliber, but I'm sure listeners prefer a few more songs like Wishing Well and Sometime Around Midnight, songs that show a different aspect of the band's musical capabilities. In the end, the album is almost flawless and is well worth the money spent.