The Airborne Toxic Event’s Hollywood Park: a grandiose reflection on a tumultuous life

The Airborne Toxic Event's Hollywood Park is an autobiographical epic full of cults and glory

You tell me that you wanna know my story,’ Mikel Jollett howls on I Don’t Wanna Be Here Anymore, the sound of a stadium Strokes. ‘I promise you it’s boring.’

I promise you it’s not. The singer of Silver Lake’s Airborne Toxic Event started life in a violent cult, and escaped into a life steeped in poverty, addiction and redemptive rock’n’roll, all of which is detailed in his tour de force memoir Hollywood Park, of which this sixth TATE album acts as loose soundtrack.

The references to heroin, religion, parole and emotional fracture are far more opaque here. Instead the album acts as an impressionistic reflection of a tumultuous life, building on the grandiosity that made their single Sometime Around Midnight so revelatory in 2008 to create an hour of sheer roar-along brilliance.

Lacing ornate atmospheres to Bruce Springsteen’s noble Americana, the title track (named after a racetrack) is a fanfare rock gallop you could imagine Flash Gordon roping steers to, while Everything I Love Is Broken, Carry Me and rehab-ready alt.country beast The Common Touch imagine The National hurling themselves into the Grand Canyon.

Touches of early Depeche Mode and misty disco rock leaven the mood, swept along on a righteous tide of bombastic rock euphoria.

Stupendous.

 

Hollywood Park

The Airborne Toxic Event
Label: Rounder
Release Date: May 22, 2020

The Airborne Toxic Event are back with their first album in five years. Titled Hollywood Park, the lyrics hark back to the new memoir out by Mikel Jollett, the group’s frontman, about his life being born into one of the country’s most infamous cults.

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