Lighters, foul language and 3D glasses? AARON LEE asks whether the rulers of this anarchic nation need to account for their absence.
AWOLNation – Back From Earth EP
Label: Red Bull Records
Something tells me that if more record labels followed Red Bull’s business model we’d have an even worse abundance of promotional deals; scratch cards pasted inside album covers, free samples of Rihanna’s latest fragrance and tokens to collect for a ‘free’ plush toy – in others words, nothing remotely relevant to the music itself.
My reason for this warning is because our copy of AWOLNation’s first EP was bundled with a set of red/blue 3D glasses. Disappointed that this shameless promotion had not been included so that I could watch some brain-addling holographic visuals leap forth from my aging CD player, I turned my attention to the five-track EP from orbit.
Embedding its nose cone firmly in your mind, ‘Burn It Down’ is a greasy pyrofever record in search of a riot – too bad the student protests are over for now. The song’s latter half has an edge of Muse’s ‘Take a Bow’, though not as melodically rapturous in its defiance. The throaty devil screams on the song’s remix aren’t an improvement. Half the nation may still be blissfully unaware of the album version of Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’, here ‘MF’ doesn’t have the same appeal. It’s a sweaty rampage that’s doesn’t come close to reaching the darkness of, say, an Overseer rap. In contrast to this rebelliousness, ‘Guilty Filthy Soul’ with its desert sun guitar riff and lyrical tale could be the backing for a modern day Western.
Back From Earth demonstrates AWOLNation’s influences, but they are yet to distinguish themselves in a meaningful way from rock bands like CKY and Mindless Self Indulgence. You have to wonder though, whether Red Bull are serious about pick up emerging talents or simply wish to flog more promotional tat.