Review: Angels & Airwaves - Love: Albums Part One & Two

 The last major album that simply had the title Love was the compilation album that featured remixes and new presentations of the various works of The Beatles. Created by producer George Martin and his son Giles Martin, the album attempted to make the music of the Fab Four sound more conceptual and flowing together by creating stretched out segues between songs, mashing up different parts from various songs together. The overall experience of the album made the work of The Beatles sound bloated, pretentious and a little unnecessarily built on grandeur. It's for that reason that it seems quite likely that Angels & Airwaves have taken something of an influence from this compilation as well as using the title.

 A few months ago, something of an outrage emerged when Blink-182 announced they were going to have to pull out of their UK tour to work on their comeback album Neighborhoods and one of the questions posed was why did the album still need working on when they had three years to record it. Well looking at this collection of music, an answer to that question can be found. Tom DeLonge has clearly gone the extra length in recording this double album as well as working on a film set to accompany the album.
 Indeed this album is a grand affair, as the band try and sound as massively overblown as they possibly can. This is seen from the very opening track Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce, a piano led spacey intro track that sounds like the music that would be used for the entrance of Julius Caesar into the Roman Colosseum to watch some gory gladiator fighting. Or something more exciting than this album.
 The beginning moments of this album is very unexciting as a matter of fact. The songs real opening track The  Flight of Apollo defeats the purpose of giving your album an opening track in that in the first minute of the song sees nothing happening. With the exception of some synthesizers buzzing around and DeLonge's bizarrely warped vocals, we are given nothing that suggests the real music has kicked in yet. Say what you will about the pretentiousness of 30 Seconds to Mars, but at least when they want to show they're getting into their full on rock groove, they do it pretty instantly. When The Flight of Apollo does kick into proper action, it's terribly anti-climactic, with some third rate punk riffs taking centerpiece. The rest of the song is basically Blink-182's Up All Night with some violins in the background. Of course, there is some 30STM influences here with former member Matt Watcher providing bass duties, it doesn't feel executed so well here and actually seems to carry an influence from the Mars material that Watcher wasn't part of, as Moon as My Witness tries to copy the material from 2009's This is War.
 The rest of the album basically sees AVA doing their best impressions of other bland stadium filler rock bands with Shove pretty much borrowing riffs from U2's Pride (In the Name of Love) and Epic Holiday and Hallucinations sounding like they're making use of some of the musical backdrops that were rejected from Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto. This overall sense of dullness is very much carried in the overstretched musical backdrops which lack in any sense of originality.
 In spite of all this, there is the occasional strength within it. Some Origins of Fire and Surrender features hooks that could be described as, dare I say, catchy and the rhythm section of Saturday Love and One Last Thing creating a fun pop punk vibe that listeners will have no choice but to lose themselves to after all the other painful material.
 But as you can see, these are only occasional and specific moments and when a double album that is 106 minutes long and the bad moments outweigh the good moments, then listening has clearly not been a worthwhile experience. Angels & Airwaves have tried to be original, engaging and exciting, but it's just not happening here. If you like your Blink-182 but don't really know your AVA a good way to imagine this album is to imagine 2003's I'm Lost Without You stretched out for an entire album. In fact if you're more familiar with Blink, then just keep things that way. Go and listen to Neighborhoods. There's a similar enough sound, but it's much more enjoyable and doesn't seem to last a goddamn eternity.

 Angels & Airwaves' Love: Albums Part One & Two set is out now via To the Stars Records.