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- Dread Pirate
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Megalithic Symphony is the incredible debut album from electronic alt-rock band Awolnation. While the release was back in March of 2011, the album has had hardly any press in the mainstream, despite the first single Sail coming into #82 on the Billboard Hot 100 and a fan-made video of this track (made one year ago!) earning 22,531,242 views on YouTube. The fact that this album has been so overlooked is almost offensive and here's hoping this review sheds some light on what might be the most innovative take on electronic rock since 2004 when The Killers debuted with Hot Fuss.
Awolnation is under Red Bull Records and is comprised of band members Aaron Bruno (founder/frontman), Drew Stewart (guitar), Hayden Scott (drums), David Amezcua, (bass) and Kenny Carkeet (rhythm/keys/synth). There is an extensive number of contributing personnel to this album as well, no one person shying away from playing multiple instruments. The result is a sound as organized and uniformed as one would imagine a computer program to be. More importantly, like a computer program, the sound is tweaked and has multiple applications. No two tracks sound the same making it so there is no precise description of what the band's sound actually is. This may sound contradictory to my aforementioned 'uniformed" sound, but I assure you that there is a precision to the music only computers could achieve with a sporadic and genuinely fun twist to each of the tracks.
The more one listens to this album, the better it gets. Everything about this band is impractical to how mainstream music designs itself. The first two tracks don't even exceed a minute in length and the second single, Not Your Fault, was track number 12, officially considered a "deep track". The unconventional attributes of the band are not limited to track listing of course. There is the collaboration of horns and electronic keys as well as the gritty, unabated sound of Bruno's voice.
Most will recognize the latest track to make it to 95.5 WBRU, Kill Your Heroes. An interestingly dark message with a very radio-friendly sound produces a queer tune for those who are not previously familiar with electronic-type rock (alternative or otherwise). Thankfully, the album has multiple songs for the newcomer to this genre. Tracks like All I Need, a harmonious, bubbly tune, and Guilty Filthy Soul, which is considerably darker and raspier, are both encouraging to first-time-listeners. To skip them is to miss out on some really creative songs.
Awolnation does not come out of nowhere and kick down the door, so to speak. They do not change music as we know it or reset the standards, but they do take a chance. Regardless, this album is so well received from various magazines and college radio stations that it is truly a mystery why they have had such little buzz. Hopefully with the new single Kill Your Heroes some more, much-deserved attention can begin to circulate a band that deserves our attention. Maybe with their next album, whenever that should be, Awolnation can get my attention earlier and get on WXIN faster. Go get this album.