The Fall of 2008 was one the best years of my youth. My last year of high school, constant goal-setting for the future, and The Airborne Toxic Event’s debut self-titled album made its way from The Album I Can’t Stop Listening To to One of My Favourite Albums of All Time. Let’s just say the Los Angeles-based band’s successors had some pretty big shoes to fill. And while their 2011 sophomore release, All At Once, barely made my radar, with songs and melodies rendering the band almost dismissible as I was forced to watch them fail to reach their true potential, my disappointment has been lifted. Enter Such Hot Blood.
If you were to see all the members of Airborne, you’d assume they’d never met each other. Their blend of rock music with orchestral instrumentation already sets them apart as a group of oddities. Like Such Hot Blood’s predecessors, the band continues to explore themes of heartbreak and the reminiscing of a relationship long after its demise. Still, when listening to the album, you can’t help but sense a feeling of growth from the band. Frontman and principle songwriter, Michel Jollett, seems to add a layer of truth and fragility with a general openness and intimacy in his lyrics; themes, while not exactly missed, were slightly lacking in their previous albums.
The track ‘Bride and Groom’ is a testament to this growth, speaking of coming terms with a relationship’s end: “And we’ll meet again someday / And we’ll toast these stunning ruins / For the bride I’ll never be / And the groom.”
‘This is London’ seems to depict The Airborne Toxic Event’s internal struggles as a band; adjusting to their success and the almost dissolution of the relationships among the members: “Evenings stumbling from the pub / Mornings shivering on the floor / Then the careless way you say / Yeah, we were just glad we got to play / When you’re empty to the core.” ‘London’ goes on to serve as an example of the repercussions to their success. “This is London, the place / Where you get lost without a trace / Among the beautiful remains / Of this shattered human race.”
Each song off the album shows not only growth lyrically, but musically, as well. Since their debut, the band has had the opportunity to play with The Louisville Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, to name a few; all of which exert plenty of influence on the album. Standout tracks, ‘Safe’ and ‘Timeless’ (the album’s first single) show immaculate orchestral arrangement, that drive the songs ‘til their completion.
And while Such Hot Blood is a solid album, The Airborne Toxic Event will perpetually hold a special place in my seventeen-year-old heart.
Such Hot Blood is available in stores and iTunes now! Find more info on The Airborne Toxic Event at their website: http://www.theairbornetoxicevent.com/