"I-Empire" (Geffen; 2007)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Angels and Airwaves is fronted by Blink-182 and former Box Car Racer guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge. The band has released two albums thus far. The only reason anybody knew about Tom’s side project is because a fan hacked into his e-mail and leaked five of the songs from their first disc. Angels and Airwaves have been spelled a few different ways and fans found out that when Tom inverted the middle “A” it would spell the name of his daughter Ava. It has been seen as Angels and Airwaves in some instances.

I found this CD to be more of a listening experience than a pleasure. The songs are well crafted and, after discovering that this is part two of their first concept album, I can say it's got some weird stuff in it. Sometimes it’s a little spacey but overall it's pretty good. Its nothing like Tom's other band projects.

Some people have thought that this is a side project for Tom but he told Kerrang magazine that AVA is never going away despite the rumors of a Blink-182 reunion. AVA was invited on the Warped Tour and played every gig scheduled. This disc titled, “I-Empire,” is a continuation of the concept from their debut disc. The artwork on “I-Empire” was created by Drew Struzan who is most famous for his work on the Star Wars artwork.

The album was mixed by Tom Lord-Alge; he is famous for mixing a wide range of bands from Chicago to U2. Tom also helped mix albums for Blink-182. Tom DeLonge has announced that a third album is forthcoming from AVA and will not give details but says that “compass/ruler” is a clue.

AVA: Tom DeLonge – lead vocals and guitar; David Kennedy – guitar (Over My Dead Body, Hazen Street and Box Car Racer); Atom Willard – drums, percussion (Rocket From The Crypt, Offspring); and the newest member Matt Wachter – bass, keyboards and backing vocals (30 Seconds To Mars).

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"We Don't Need to Whisper" (Suretone / Geffen; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The debut CD by the latest side project of Blink-182's Tom DeLonge is a disappointingly sterile and rather bland effort. DeLonge wanted to create a sound different than that of Blink-182 or his other side project, Boxcar Racer, and he got his wish. Unfortunately, different isn't enough.

With none of the energy of a Blink-182 or Boxcar Racer CD, "We Don't Need to Whisper" moseys along at a slow, easy pace. There are none of the big guitars and silly lyrics of Blink, none of the high energy rock of Boxcar Racer and the percussion often sounds too programmed and antiseptic. Finally, the CD is sadly devoid of any quirkiness or edginess that might give it some much needed pip. 

Things get a little interesting about halfway through (with the catchy but derivative "The War") but that seems to also be the CD's peak as well because it never reaches that level again. 

Fans of Blink 182 and Boxcar Racer may want to check out this record for the sake of seeing another side of Tom DeLonge but it's probably not a side that most will be back to re-visit often.

Angels and Airwaves: Tom DeLonge; David Kennedy; Ryan Sinn; Atom Willard.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2023 21:56:13 -0400.