Red Bull Records
Electronic Rock, 2011
To call AWOLNATION’s music is to oversimplify this group’s sound considerably. Aaron Bruno and his buddies combine electronica with plain straight-up rock, and the result is a beautiful kind of blasphemy, like the product of an an orgy of musical vibes between old-school Manic Street Preachers and Queen.
The songs here at first listen seem to be a diverse collection apparently thrown together at random. The frantic call for anarchy, Burn It Down, and the more tentative slice of electronic sensory overload called Sail, for example, couldn’t be any further from each other – in fact, a casual listener may even believe that these songs are performed by different artists.
Still, it isn’t long before it’s apparent that AWOLNATION has crafted some very intriguing songs that are also at the same time ear worms of the highest order. Mr Bruno’s vocals contain plenty of verve and swagger to rousing catchy songs such as People and Jump on My Shoulders, which are among the more radio-friendly tunes here. Guilty Filthy Soul is old school gone cool with its filthy fun musical twists and all. The closing Knights of Shame, which clocks in at 15 minutes, is like Motown on acid – it may be a bit self-indulgent, but it’s fun.
It’s very apparent in the beautiful cathedral hymn All I Need that Mr Bruno is a sneaky chameleon, adapting and twisting his vocal stylistics to ensure that each song, no matter how different it may be from the other, remains a uniquely AWOLNATION song.
Megalithic Symphony is one of those rare CDs where every song feels like a gem with its own defining facets. Lush, fabulous, and wonderfully discordant, this one is definitely a fun breed of rock for the ages.