Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event
Posted on July 10, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 20 Comments
If The Edge from U2 and Ian McCollough from Echo and the Bunnymen loved each other very much and had a baby, I think it would sound a little like this.
Ah, so mopey and jangly. Here’s their MySpace page.
Hat tip to Doselle Young for bringing these wacky kids to my attention.
Wow, they’re really good. You should check out The National, a little more mellow than these guys but they sound similar.
I always wondered how it would sound like if a coherent Bob Dylan were the frontman for U2 (especially the first half of the song). Now I know! Thanks for sharing.
As it happens I was listening to The National just prior to hear this song.
Maybe not quite as melancholy, but if you like reflective, jangly goodness check out the Jayhawks. “Blue” would be a good classic to start.
Some say that Will Sargent (E&tB guitarist) already is The Edge, a cut-rate version, because he ripped off everything he knows from him. (I’m not sure I’m not one of those who say that, and I’ve been a huge Echo fan since 1981.) This makes the idea of them having a baby together very disturbing.
Then again, some say that The Edge ripped everything he knows off from Keith Levene of PiL… it never stops.
Hey, Never Stop is my favorite Echo song. Do I get a prize now?
Rick: I’ve had it! I’m writing my PM.
Vivian: But Rick, you’re an anarchist. You don’t have a PM.
Rick: Well then, I’ll write a letter to the lead singer of Echo & The Bunnymen. Let’s see, Dear Echo….
Wow, it’s like it’s 1988 all over again!
He’s got a Bowie scream.
Hmm! I just see a blank white screen where (I’m hypothesizing) there should be a link or something. Obviously, from the comments above, others are seeing something I’m not.
I really see the Echo and the Bunnymen comparison. Not as much The National. I actually like this song rather better than The National.
Ahh! The exquisitely bruised nerves of callow youth…. If their other songs don’t build to a Glen Hansard, window shattering climax, all the better. I’m sure each new guitar part was contemplated with full intellectual rigor.
Ah, bought the track off Amazon this morning and enjoyed it. Probably going to have to buy the whole album now. Thanks, John.
Yeah, what Dan said. Thing is, iTunes has only this one song on it, so I’m like going to actually have to WORK to find something else…
Thanks a lot.
(Cool track, btw.)
Ha! It’s appeared. Re: my earlier comment at 9 above.
I totall agree with Joe #8…Sometime around Midnight reminds me of Bowie doing Heros (who by the way is my all time favorite). I’ve been looking for all these years for a second favorite, I think I found it!…rock on!
“A Review fo the Airborne Toxic Event in the Style of Pitchfork”
A central premise in White Noise, Don Delillo’s classic postmodern commentary on late capitalism, is that within a culture where mass production and consumption are widely prevalent, one inevitably will be surrounded by simulacra, that is, inferior copies of copies that have little or no relation to the original object they attempt to simulate. Put differently, a simulacrum is an imperfect representation of a replica, which in itself is a flawed facsimile of some original, true thing. For example, a diamond is a real thing that has value as a result of the specific properties it possess. On the other hand, a cubic zirconium is a copy of a diamond that only superficially resembles it and, upon closer inspection, does not posses the true features that make a diamond valuable. Finally, there are crappy pieces of fake glass that are made to look like cubic zirconia but only cost $11.99. These are the kind of trinkets that guys from Jersey or Long Island buy their dates to make it seem like they are really in love, but in reality they are just trying to get lucky. Most people can’t tell a diamond from a cubic zirconium, but a phony glass ring is easy to spot.
To take this clumsy metaphor to its inexorable conclusion, if The Smiths, The Arcade Fire, and early U2 are diamonds (originals); and The Killers and The Bravery are cubic zirconia (copies); then The Airborne Toxic Event, a band from Los Angeles (a place French philosopher Jean Baudrillard called “no longer real but rather belonging to the hyperreal order of simulation”) is a bunch of Grey Goose Vodka bottles and crushed red bull cans at the end of your driveway calling itself a 10 carat stone.
Being a simulacrum themselves, that is, copies of bands like The Killers who were trying to emulate groups like U2, it is no small irony that The Airborne Toxic Event has taken its name from a seminal event in Delillo’s book that deals so extensively with the subject of what is real, what is a copy, and what is a copy of a copy that has lost all essence of the original. On the group’s self-titled debut album, attempts to channel the heart of Bono, the passion of Win Butler, the proletarian compassion of The Boss, and the yearning of Morrissey fall flat. The songs seem like vain attempts to copy originals that can’t be duplicated.
The band’s single, “Sometime Around Midnight,” which has already received two thumbs up from KROQ (they who incessantly play Red Hot Chili Peppers, Avenged Sevenfold, and “Date Rape” by Sublime), starts off with a promising viola line; however, once the vocals of lead singer and guitarist Mikel Jolett (a former writer for Filter Magazine and the L.A. Times) begin, the song lurches forward, never progressing. Jolett repeats the same melodic phrase throughout the song, there is no verse, no chorus, no innovative arrangement, simply a steady crescendo filled with hackneyed phrases like “she’s holding her tonic like a cross.” “Papillon,” a song with an upbeat guitar line, is a stark change in tone from “Sometime Around Midnight;” however, Jolett’s penchant for repeating simple melodic vocal lines throughout songs persists. His adolescent laments about girls, alcohol, and cigarettes are constantly repeated throughout the album, albeit using a smattering of advanced vocabulary that one would find in a 12th grade copy of Wordly Wise. “This is Nowhere” is the album’s strongest track and features a catchy verse; however, the overwrought and introspective lyrics do not fit the upbeat tone of the track. In the album’s final track, “Innocence,” Anna Bulbrook’s viola once again shines, but as with most of the band’s work, the song fails to take any interesting, creative, or original turns, simply offering a simple rise and fall. The album reaches its nadir with the track “Missy,” a song so simple in its structure and so repetitive in melodic lines that it sounds like it was written by a young teenager who just received his first Stratocaster-pack from Guitar Center.
When all is said and done, The Airborne Toxic Event bring little or nothing new to the table, and what they do bring has been done better by artists like the Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, and even The Killers. Jollet’s attempts to appear heartfelt and tortured simply end up sounding like someone trying to ape the style of an emotionally ravaged person rather than the true yowls of an agonized soul. The band need to find a sound of their own instead of producing third rate replications of the sounds of their more gifted predecessors.
Funny Joe that same review you posted above is on another blog here:
Nice writing, but I think it’s total rubbish. You sound like someone out to get the band.
totally. bitter much? what happened, Joe? did he steal your girlfriend?
This band has its charm as it represents an older 90’s alternative sound, that for the most part is non- existant today. Maybe that is why they stand out? I’m very luke warm about this.
I hyped The Airborne Toxic Event on Everhype.com and gave them 62% which I think is fairly accurate.
If you get on there rate me a 5 and request friendship.
it’s funny how anyone can think that The Killers are a high quality copy.