From the iconic band that gave us hits like “Sail” and “Run,” AWOLNATION is back to bare their souls on their latest album, “Angels Miners and Lightning Riders.”
The album holds many tracks that mix both alternative rock and electro-pop. With rock songs such as “Lightning Riders” and techno tracks like “Slam,” AWOLNATION has produced its best album since “Megalithic Symphony.”
The band’s lead singer, Aaron Richard Bruno, still has an unforgettable voice that echoes softly throughout every song. Yet AWOLNATION doesn’t shy away from newer techniques, either. Tracks like “Slam,” which has a prominent bass presence, show off the band’s experimentation with new production methods. The song itself, as explained by Bruno, is directed toward fame.
“At about five minutes, ‘Slam’ is an ode to the pressures that come with fame and expectations,” Bruno said in an interview with Riff Magazine. “The whole song has a slightly haunting vibe with airy, echoing vocals.”
“Mayday!!! Fiesta Fever” has a more techno, pop-centered sound that partners well with the addition of screamo Bruno provides. Along with the music video, previously released in February this year, AWOLNATION provided a ‘90s themed pop classic that matched the same vibes as shown in the video.
Many songs hit close to home for the band, as Bruno described the loss of his home studio in “California Hero Blue.” After a devastating fire in Malibu while the band was on tour, Bruno decided to write the track as an ode to feeling helpless in times of tragedy.
“It felt like a little bit of a rebirth of sorts, a restart,” Bruno explained in an interview with Billboard. “I approached [Angel Miners] as if it was my first record. I wanted to act as if I had no success before and really prove myself all over again.”
After premiering “The Best” at an NHL All-Star game in January, AWOLNATION’s track immediately became a hit, as it is currently their fifth most popular song ever produced. The song itself isn’t truly about becoming the best band, but improving to the best of their ability, as explained by Bruno after the song was first released.
“The Best” has a techno beat and vocals that remind many of Tyler Joseph or Rivers Cuomo. The song could easily be used in any action movie, as it has an inspiring tone that would fit well with any heroic scene.
On the other hand, tracks such as “I’m A Wreck” go into detail about feeling distant or depressed. While the song itself begins with a chilled vibe, there is a breaking point which familiarizes mental health in a way not yet directed throughout previous albums. The song could easily be described as a slowed punk description of failure colliding with the influence of surrounding factors throughout daily life.
Although considered a rock band, AWOLNATION truly mixes multiple genres together in order to create their diverse sense of identity. While creating songs that are known and loved by all ages, the band continues to thrive on personal experience and relatable emotions. “Angels Miners and Lightning Riders” continued to please throughout every track, especially when highlighting the struggles of everyday life.