For a frontman so interested in the universe outside our little blue and green ball of rock, Tom DeLonge is hardly exploring new dimensions on Angels & Airwaves’ first album in seven years. What he deals with instead is steadfast yet no less fun pop rock laced with sparkly electronics and he navigates the sonic territory he is more familiar with decently. ‘Euphoria’ and ‘Kiss And Tell’ pack some satsifying guitar-driven crunch, while ‘No More Guns’ and ‘Losing My Mind’ bury barbed political lyricism under seemingly playful pop melodies and pleasing, earworm-worthy hooks.
That said, plenty of bands have peppered their guitar tunes with bleeps and bloops in recent years, and AVA doesn’t always handle them with care, or with the intent to innovate. The flourish of EDM that kicks off opening track ‘Timebomb’ is a little jarring and feels somewhat generic, while the synthy harmonics of ‘A Fire In A Nameless Town’ smacks of the ‘80s (as this album frequently does) in a way that isn’t nostalgia inducing but uncomfortable. There’s enough for fans to enjoy across ‘Lifeforms’, but it is not as lofty as it perhaps thinks itself to be.
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