Yeah, OK – I know I’m late with this review (the album gets its UK release tomorrow, as I write this) but it was still a pleasant surprise to hear the current single ‘Sail,’ played on daytime Radio 1 last week – which really just illustrates HOW late this review is. Radio 1 ahead of LOUD HORIZON? Surely not?
It’s also an encouraging sign that the nation’s ‘most popular’ contemporary music station is willing to break away from the seemingly endless conveyor belt of sound-a-like, auto-tuned, Pinky and Perky sounding, dubstep orientated dross that the daytime shows normally foist on an impressionable public.
(Sorry – that just slipped out!)
Anyway, the point is that this fourteen-track (the first two last a combined length of one minute and twenty-five seconds) is real gem, with something for everyone, as they say.
In some respects, AWOLNATION remind me of Alabama 3. Not in sound, but by virtue of both bands having their own distinctive and definitive styles, but equally apply this without any compromise to various styles and genres of music within the one album.
Throughout ‘Megalithic Symphony’ we are treated to an array of sounds, each and every one of them with a memorable hook and danceable beat – although ‘Sail’ would be best kept for the end of the evening when everyone is either too knackered or drunk to stand up on their own. But even though the pace is pretty laid back, it is this song that has brought the name of AWOLNATION to the fore in UK. The slow handclaps and harmonies give it a sort of bluesy Gospel feel, but with a harder edge.
Elsewhere, there is the virtual boy-band melody and sing-a-long of ‘Jump On My Shoulders;’ there’s the Benji Webbe (Skindred) sounding ragga-rock chorus to ‘Burn It Down;’ ‘Not Your Fault,’ draws unmistakable comparison with the camp-rock of Eric Nally and the brilliant Foxy Shazam while ‘All I Need,’ is almost Beatles-esque, with the added Gospel-styled backing harmonies. The magnificent ‘Knights Of Shame’ closes the album with a mix of hip-hop and Eighties electro beats, while sailing very close at points to Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted To Love’combined with David Dundas’s ‘Jeans On’! (Yes, really!)
Yet, there is never any question that this is AWOLNATION with their own identity indelibly tattooed under the outer skin of any superficial comparisons.
Tell you what – if by playing this type of music is an indication of the way forward, then Radio 1 may just pick up another more regular day-time listener.
(Released through Red Bull Records on 4th July 2011)
This one’s only just arrived here at LOUD HORIZON, and so we lag well behind Radio 1 in that they have already identified AWOLNATION as a band to listen out for and have subsequently added ‘Sail’ to its famed ‘In New Music We Trust’ playlist.
But that’s not gonna stop us having our say …. though with the track streamed below (the excellent video has had its embed code disabled, unfortunately) and the band’s burgeoning reputation spreading like wildfire across the U.S. , there’s probably not a lot more we can add.
For what it’s worth, this is one of those distinctive and original tracks that have the listener hooked right from the first hearing. The slow, blues-dripping theme, the steady and incessant handclaps, the soulful and slightly hoarse vocals, the almost gospel-like backing and the little synth hooks certainly had me bought in right from the off.
(Released through Red Bull Records on 13th June 2011)
(8.5 / 10)