AWOLNATION, Megalithic Symphony
I will be the first to admit that I had never heard of AWOLNATION before I heard the song “Sail” on the radio. I immediately liked the simple-yet-complex nature of the song and wondered if perhaps the band was either Muse or the new Cage the Elephant. Upon hearing their full length for the first time, I was nothing but impressed.
One of the only problems I have with this album (and it is a small one) is that the first song is a nice little minute-long intro that says the band name in a computer voice. I like this — don’t get me wrong — and as far as opening tracks go, it is most appropriate at the first spot than anywhere else in the lineup. After this, we go into a little thirty-second story about this guy saying he saw a gypsy-hippie woman with her child and some kind of small animal that looked like she was carrying wood. This thirty seconds just seems unnecessary to me, and whenever I listen to this album, after hearing that little bit for the first time, I tend to skip over it.
Aside from those two opening tracks, everything else is pretty much your typical song until track 9, and then the final song is actually pretty long (nearly fifteen minutes, to be exact, but that includes some dead air and a minute-or-so-long hidden track), but it works somehow.
Hearing “Sail” made me think that AWOLNATION would have more of a dark electronic sound than they actually do. In fact, the majority of their songs — despite being born to rage — are rather upbeat, almost poppy. I only say they’re poppy because they have a certain quality that makes you want to sing along. On top of that factor, certain lyrics have that quality where if you’re hearing them for the first time you can complete them just based on what seems to be the obvious choice for what would come next.
There are several influences you can hear coming from AWOLNATION on this album, which make for a nice blend, but at times, when we’re asked, “Can I get an amen?,” I feel like he’s a preacher singing to the congregation. “Jump on My Shoulders” reminds me of a Blue October song, for some reason (maybe it’s because Blue October has that “Jump Rope” song), and other songs at times do, as well. Mostly, though, with all of the “whooos” and things of that nature, this reminds me most of something like Little Richard or someone along those lines. Even with the somewhat distorted electro chorus of a song like “Burn It Down,” you can clearly hear the Little Richard coming through in the verses.
Aside from the obvious single, “Sail,” my favorite song on here has to be the very optimistic-sounding yet realistic lyrics of “Kill Your Heroes.” I’ve always said that if I was going to make music, I’d want to have an incredibly poppy and upbeat sound with completely depressing and dark lyrics. AWOLNATION’s Megalithic Symphony is the closest I have heard to that thus far in my life.