I was sold this album on the back of the iconic track, Sail, which appears regularly in both professional tv and user-created youtube videos as a driving soundscape backdrop. What I found was not the emo-collection of angsty rock that I was expecting: instead this is a diverse and delightful collection of influences and styles.
If anything, AWOLNATION are the inheritors of the very best of eighties synthpop, with a legacy that reminds sometimes of Prince, sometimes of the early techno bands like S-EXPRESS, or the very British Pop Will Eat Itself. "All I Need" is just straight-up simple, brilliant love-songwriting, reminiscent of a solo John Lennon, or the south London balladeers, Squeeze. "Jump on my Shoulders" is an anthemic, joyous Robin-Hood quasipolitical sing-a-long number. Throughout, the album surprises and delights for sheer eclecticism and for the superb execution of the differing dishes that it serves up.
All in all, thoroughly recommended to anyone with a broad musical taste, and/or with an interest in musical diversity and quality song writing... and if that fails you, you've still got the most magnificent 'Sail' to fall back on!
Like many people I suspect, I bought this because of Sail but this track is not remotely representative of the rest of the album. To me, Awolnation are a band that can't decide what kind of band they want to be. It's really important to me that there is diversity in any good album, diversity of styles, light and shade, you name it but you still want to have that signature sound that ties everything together. When I heard Sail I loved it and bought the album expecting it to be dark, electronic and industrial. Actually, Sail turns out to stick out like a sore thumb. The rest of the album is some naff concoction of rock 'n' roll (in the elvis sense), boy band and pure pop/dance. Sometimes it changes what it is mid song....not in a clever way but in a disturbing "what were they thinking of and why did they cobble this together" kind of way.
If people are thinking about buying this ont the strength of Sail then I would give it an extreme health warning. It people like the rest of it they probably won't like Sail.
If the band are moving in the direction of Sail they could yet make me a convert but I think they need to decide what sort of band they are and still make a diverse album but one that people can still latch onto.
After the initial 'on repeat' listenings to Sail I decided to give the rest of the album a go. What a shock. After a few full run throughs I couldn't stop. It's brilliant. Catchy, dancy, rocky. Love it. I think people that haven't really listened properly to the rest of the tracks should do so - definitely. It takes a few listens but once you're there you can't stop playing it! You will not be disappointed.
Not Your Fault, Jump On My Shoulders, All I Need, People, Burn It Down, Guilty Filthy Soul, Kill Your Heroes.....I could go on - IT'S BRILLIANT!