There can be no denying Tom Delonge‘s ambition. Forming Angels & Airwaves in order to play the artist and the muse, instead of the rebellious, immature teenager required of Blink-182, it’s understandable that he would want to flex his musical muscle eventually. Yet, with his hyperbolic claims that his new outfit would release “the greatest album ever” with debut ‘We Don’t Need To Whisper’, it seemed that his sense of self-importance and artistic value were a tad misguided. Subsequent releases have only gone on to re-enforce this impression, and with ‘Love: Part Two’, the band again do little to prove otherwise.
Which is strange, as coming from a man so seemingly burning with grand aspirations, Angels & Airwaves look content to just cover old ground. The album, for the most part, lacks any progression from previous work, coming across with sub-U2 guitar (especially opening track ‘Saturday Love’, which is almost shamelessly reminiscent of the Irish rockers) and majestic soundscapes which tend to serve as pompous and synthetic more than they do distinguished. The problem is, even without all this decoration and needless ceremony, the core songwriting just does not stand up. Songs such as ‘Anxiety’ may sound as sonically grand as is humanly possible, but the melodies simply are not there, and what we are left with is a serious case of style over substance.
Although, ‘Love: Part Two’ does give us some welcome glimpses of quality, which suggest that there is some promise of things to come. Fight through the ridiculous electronic noodling of ‘One Last Thing’, and you will be treated with a straightforwardly hooky chorus, and the glorious ‘Surrender’ sounds like it has been plucked straight from the new Blink-182 album with its mounting verses and a bouncy chorus.
It’s a shame therefore that Angels & Airwaves didn’t give more focus to simply writing good songs and not studio trickery. These occasional flashes of ability prove infuriating, because if only the band (or, perhaps just Delonge himself) could get over the over blown desire to appear more groundbreaking and significant than they could ever be, it’s a safe bet that there is a more than decent record in them.
Written by Tony Bliss