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Grand, but lacking killer song

By Angels & Airwaves

SureTone / Geffen Records: 2007

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This review first appeared in Turbula in January 2008.

Tom DeLonge, founder and lead singer of Angels & Airwaves (his first post-blink-182 effort), has said in interviews that the band's second album, "I-Empire," is a continuation of the band's 2006 debut, "We Don't Need to Whisper." In terms of consistency, he's certainly right about the new record sounding like Pt. II of the first.

The new outing is well-played and interesting, and continues the theme of creating a prog rock for the alt generation – it has the same kind of operatically inclined grandiosity about it. Soaring themes and slowly building crescendos will remind listeners of a certain age of 1970s prog rockers like Queen, Yes and Emerson Lake & Palmer.

But as with the first record, "I-Empire" has no killer song, no hit to get stuck in your head. Instead, it comes off like a Rush or Yes album with the hits removed.

As a concept album, it succeeds quite well. Dramatic, powerful, even visionary. That sense of compelling urgency will keep you hooked beginning to end – but without a memorable song or two, how likely are you to listen through again?