In the past few years, Blink-182 and its members have been in a sort of limbo. Despite a “reunion” of sorts and a new album, the band still isn’t exactly on great terms. Despite this, former guitarist and co-vocalist Tom Delonge has continued churning out great music with his side project, Angels and Airwaves. With their latest outing, The Dream Walker, the band continues their foray into both alt-rock and different mediums for their music.
Angels and Airwaves, stylized as AVA, have been known for pairing up their album releases with explorations of “different mediums” of expression. Following up 2011’s Love: Part II and the subsequent film titled Love, Angels and Airwaves are now releasing their new album with an animated short film called Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker. The fourteen minute film will use the album as a soundtrack, and was directed and written by Tom DeLonge.
Of course, the main focus of the band is their music, not their films. This new album is, according to DeLonge, a darker and more organic than their past ones. This shows, to an extent, but in all honesty this is the same sort of album that Angels and Airwaves have put out recently. It is more creative, energetic, and varied than Love and its companion album, but The Dream Walker is still the electronic stadium rock that fans of the band have come to expect.
The first single for the album, “The Wolfpack”, sets a solid tone for the album, with AVA’s trademark synth and keyboard alternative rock, but different tracks have different styles and are overall more interesting than some of the band’s previous work. Love was particularly iffy in terms of repetitive music, so it’s refreshing to see that the creativity and skills shown in I-Empire is still kicking. Stand-out tracks include the energetic “Bullets in the Wind” and the darkly personal “Tunnels”. The closing track, “Anomaly”, is a more gentle acoustic track that seems like a perfect way to end an album that’s so up and down in terms of both tone and music.
Overall, The Dream Walker seems a little more grounded than some of the band’s previous work. It’s still a sense of grandiosity and spectacle, but the music itself seems almost reserved. It isn’t as much an attempt to tackle existentialism and the human condition, but instead is a more personal and darker journey through the digital age. It’s inspiration seems more rooted in Blink-182’s own Neighborhoods than any of the 1970’s stadium bands that inspired AVA’s earlier work. It’s a positive change from Love and shows that even with constantly shifting line-ups, the band can still produce a solid rock album that’s a joy to listen to.
You can listen to the album on Angels And Airwaves’ SoundCloud account here.