Angels and Airwaves - I-Empire

Duncan Bradley 20/11/2007

Rating: 3.5/5

Angels and Airwaves - 'I-Empire'

Tom Delonge isn't a rock god. Before I begin I would like to clarify that, despite his colossal worldwide following, his millions of records sales and his consistently sold out arena tours, a rock god he isn't. That acknowledged, 'I-Empire' is one hell of a record.

After years serving as various counterparts of punk rock outfits across America, the members of Angels and Airwaves have collaborated for a second time to bring us a follow up to 2006's 'We Don't Need To Whisper'. Despite the many similarities between this album and the last, there is a clear progression between the two that demonstrates Delonge's ability to create relevant music even today, two years on from the announcement of Blink-182's 'indefinite hiatus'. While the odd chord could have been borrowed from any one of the countless records that lie in the wake of the members of Angels and Airwaves, this album has a unique sound, successfully combining subtleties of juxtaposing genres and musical techniques.

Delonge's lyrics tell tales of personal experience and, regardless of context, they are easily related to by the inevitably huge fan base that has been eagerly awaiting this record. This album, I've little doubt, awaits harsh criticism from the press but there's more to this music than critics like myself can even begin to portray. Though Delonge's imagery lacks thought and imagination, his honest and undeniably empowering rhetoric instantly pleases, instilling a real sense of satisfaction. Vocal melodies fuse songs, blurring messages, drum patterns and electronic loops reminiscent of the band's debut album.

The commitment to the production of 'I-Empire' is patently evident and this is what sets the record apart from those littering the streets of the music industry as we speak. The band have clearly poured themselves into this album: the end result lends passion, honesty and confidence to the listener. Though this album may fall ignominiously to an ignorant ear, I've a lot of time for Tom Delonge's musical experimentation despite ongoing criticism of simplicity that Blink-182's music bred so well. The transition is clear but how long can Delonge make it last? I don't know.