By Angels & Airwaves
As the frontman of Blink 182, Tom DeLonge sold millions of records and gained huge popularity off the back of songs about falling in love, shagging your mum, and being a teenage delinquent. With Blink on 'indefinite hiatus', DeLonge returns with Angels & Airwaves, and a completely different change of tack.
We Don't Need To Whisper's longest track clocks in at 6:39, giving you an idea of the intended epic nature of the songs here, sprawling pieces of modern rock that are worlds apart from the short sharp bursts of catchy pop punk DeLonge is famous for. DeLonge's voice echoes around a landscape of other-worldly effects, as guitars and drums crash around songs with lyrics about the universe's plight, and the onslaught of a mighty war. Opener Valkyrie Missiles eschews a more traditional song structure, and is akin to three different songs welded together to create an impressive and moodily ambient introduction. The War is an urgent, driving slab of a song built around a thunderous riff that demands your attention.
Along with the single The Adventure, these tracks are the standouts in an album that, unless appreciated in one hour-long sitting and as a whole, tends to blend into itself in a way that can sometimes make it feel like a challenge to stay interested in. DeLonge has undoubtedly found a distinctive sound for himself, but it also seems to be his limitation, as certain songs initially seem indistinguishable from each other, as if they are confined to a blueprint that seems to standardise their sound.
Another sticking point is DeLonge's voice: always an acquired taste, if it grates on you this album will not be an easy ride. We Don't Need To Whisper is an impressive debut effort, and one that firmly leaves DeLonge's musical past behind him. Perhaps with more time to develop this promising sound Angels & Airwaves could be destined for great things in the future.