Awolnation - Megalithic Symphony
Record Label: Red bull Records
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Should you listen to this album? Yes. But who should listen to it? Everyone. This album is literally one of the only albums I can honestly say has a little something for everyone. Ranging from punk to electronica to pop to hip-hop to good old-fashioned angry music, this album has at least one song that will interest you. For most people, that song is the radio hit "Sail," featuring more synth action than guitar.
Overall, the album has more synth than guitar riffs, but don't let that scare you away from this record. Aaron Bruno has decided to do something very few other bands can do: have a keyboardist take lead over a guitarist. While all the instruments played are done so wonderfully, the style and execution of all the synth riffs are fantastic in each and every song.
The album starts off with the title track, being an instrumental meant to introduce the style and energy of the band, and it is successful in doing so. The robotic voice that says the band name twice during the track (which clocks in under a minute) is really unnecessary, but the instrumental aspect of the track is fast, aggressive and a joy to listen to. And did I mention that was just the first track?
The first “real” song on the album is “Soul Wars,” which is possibly one of my favorites off the record. The song is a punk/electronica hybrid with a fast delivery of lyrics such as "It's a cruel, cruel world/For good boys and girls" with an equally fast synth riff and pounding drums. Bruno's vocals are not what's expected if all you've heard to this point is "Sail," but that doesn't mean his vocals aren't appealing; Aaron Bruno has some of the most distinct vocals I've ever heard on an album. It’s mainly because I've rarely been a fan of rough, higher-pitched vocals, yet Bruno has a way with his music to make me like him far more than some crooner-type vocalists.
Awolnation slows the pace down a bit with "People," starting with a spoken thank you to the listener. Unfortunately, it leads to one of the (very) few low-lights of the album. The song has some wonderful musicianship, but it gets a little boring in terms of the lyrics and a repetitive and underwhelming chorus – a near-opposite to the chorus of "Soul Wars."
The next song is yet another change of pace, with Bruno switching gears to make an uplifting, memorable song about living life and enjoying it equally with others. "Jump From My Shoulders" is half of the evidence that Bruno can conquer almost any genre with absolutely no boundaries in his repertoire. The second half is "Burn it Down," an aggressive, upbeat jam sporting quick delivery of lyrics such as "If you're feeling like I feel/Throw your fist through the ceiling/Some people call it crazy/Well I call it healing," which makes it another stand-out on the album.
"Guilty Filthy Soul" and "Kill Your Heroes" are two fantastic songs that differ in style, but match up in charm and present the capabilities of Bruno as a songwriter and musician. The two go perfectly together, despite being two quite different songs. "Guilty" slows things down (again) and adds a grungy tone to Bruno's vocals similar to "Sail," ignoring the fact that the tone and delivery is less aggressive. "Heroes" is a song displaying more of Bruno's composition quality coupled with rough, yet appealing, vocals. The song has an uplifting tone, even if the song has a more negative message in it.
"Heroes" leads into a short clip peering into the production of a song appearing later on the record, which then leads into the incredibly addictive and aggressive slow-jam "Sail." The song is the single on the record, and if I need to say anything about this song, it's that it's one of the best produced and most-listened to on the record.
"Wake Up" is the next song, which has a more hip-hop vibe than anything, but still has the crazy lyrical delivery Bruno has become known for at this point in the record. Bruno combines wonderful harmonies and melodies to create a lighter, more fun song that most aren't expecting. This leads into "Not Your Fault," which has the most guitars in any of the songs on the record. "Fault" is a fast-paced, dancey song that should appeal to many types of listeners.
Bruno then leads into "All I Need," a more gospel-like song, bringing a wonderful change of flavor to the already diverse album. With piano and choir, Bruno shows that he doesn't cut any corners with his composition and production.
Awolnation's debut approaches the close of their album, but if you've learned anything about this band at this point, it's that they aren't conventional in any way. Their closing track is just over 12 minutes long, combining almost every type of music already covered on their record into one long song. With a rap verse and multiple changes in tempo, the song is a fitting end for the A.D.D-like range Awolnation has succeeded in creating.
While the album is about as diverse as anything you will ever find, it might not be for everyone. That being said: Bruno has created a monster of an album, with equally large ambitions, making the title quite fitting.
The day I bought this album (yesterday) I tweeted that I bet Awolnation and Patrick Stump would probably love each other's music. Not much later, while listening to the album for the third time in a row, I GOT A REPLY FROM PATRICK STUMP! It said "@JenaAnnissa I dig the @awolnation album a lot" . I still can't belive it. More reason to love the album. Maybe they'll tour together one day. I can totally see it happening. Hmmm.