LP Review; AWOLNATION: “Angel Miners & The Lightning Riders”

The Album:

Since it has been two years since their previous release, “Here Comes the Runts”, fans were dying to hear new tunes from AWOLNATION, so once there was word that new music was coming- everyone got amped. Let’s dive in to see if this record was worth the wait. From the jump, it is notable that all the music that made the cut for the record resonates in a different yet very similar light compared to the music that surrounds it. This occurs, for the tunes either drive with an extreme AWOLNATION vibe, or they veer way off the path for the artist. This is due to the higher energy moments that contrast well with the calmer musical moments. The band is able to connect this roller coaster of change through their variety of musical genre influences. As one sits and listens to the record from front to back, it is evident that the band is using similar musical influences throughout each track; however, the band is also spanning the spectrum with their instrumentals. This gives them a larger arsenal to work with in terms of musical nuances and techniques. The band includes moments, where they are creating atmospheric music (chordal blankets of sound) that continually pushes forward due to the catchy grooves that the band provides, but there are also moments, where the band is utilizing aggressive articulations in all departments (instrumental to vocal juxtaposition). This experience creates moments of extreme heightened moments that will grasp the listener’s attention. Due to the high moments, when the band includes the softer sections, the audience members become more intrigued and interested on what is next to come, musically speaking. Overall, I am giving this record a 4 out of 5 stars. I am giving this album such a score, for the music that falls on the inside is innovative, light, and musically intelligent. The record includes melodies that are simple and well-balanced, which will help listeners walk away humming a melody or two after their first listen. This album is such a strong cross of mod-pop and alternative pop musical influences. Mixing those genres created a fun and memorable musical experience for the listeners, which just happens to be entitled: “Angel Miners & The Lightning Riders”.


Top Tracks:

“Mayday!!! Fiesta Fever”, “The Best”, and “California Halo Blue”

As one listens to the record from front to back, the band’s divide in styles jump out almost immediately. Even with that as the case, these tracks stick out, for they are the ones that drive with the AWOLNATION stamp of aesthetic, while also providing variations to their characteristic sound to keep listeners interested. Therefore, I would recommend giving the entire album a spin, but if you’re only seeking an introduction: I would start here.


The Artwork:

At first glance, the artwork may intrigue viewers due to its minimal yet intense appearance. The focal point of the image is this alien type figure that is blue and vibrant on the “Angel Miners” side, and it is being struck by lightning on the “Lightning Riders” side. This is coupled with a perspective driven red background and the band’s logo. Let’s turn to the music that falls on the inside to see if the two mesh well together. As one listens through the album, it is heard that there is a clear dichotomy heard throughout. Some tracks drive with high energy, elevated instrumentals, and lyrical moments that span the spectrum of the alternative pop music scene. On the flip side, the band also includes moments that have intricate instrumentals that dial the band to a more ballad feel without providing selections that are necessarily a ballad. This approach connects to the front cover as well as the title of the record, for it gives the listeners that feel of the angel miners (the softer moments) versus the lightning riders (the extreme moments). In general, I would say the front cover is intriguing but not overly exciting; however, when one ties it to the music that falls on the inside as well as with the title: I believe it comes together quite nicely.

*”Angel Miners & The Lightning Riders” was released on April 24th, 2020 through Better Noise Music.

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