Tuesday, April 24th, 2018


Ah, that’s where they went…


Josh Langhoff: “The missing link between Guided By Voices and Imagine Dragons” is a phrase I’m writing for posterity not because it’s true, necessarily, but to point out Aaron Bruno’s use of one perfectly honed affect per song, updated with a clean sound — umpteen clean sounds — and the relative “not a rock star” anonymity of the band members, Bruno included. Though anyone can immediately ID GBV or ID songs, AWN’s breakthrough march-of-the-id “Sail” sounds nothing like the lush folk non sequiturs of “Handyman,” which sound nothing like “Jealous Buffoon” or “Cannonball” or the rest of the ‘NATION’s astonishing Here Come the Runts album. If you’re considering their handyman services, the gorges full of dark rumbling under their sweet ostinatos should trigger your fight-or-flight instincts. For truly, AWOLNATION is the missing link between self-awareness and whichever kind of bro-dom you care to name.  

Micha Cavaseno: Every kid who wears an AWOLNATION shirt in public, no matter how insolent or rude to you when you wait in line at the 7-Eleven, is more valid than anyone present in a half-packed Charli XCX concert. As much as “Handyman” is a record that makes their electro-arena rock feel like they’ve abandoned a sense of ambition, their blinding earnestness without the dependency of “ARTE” as a crutch demonstrates a boldness I personally envy. This earnestness preaches to a sense of confidence to yearn, and a freedom to exude emotions in a shamefully ignorant way. When AWOLNATION admit to their temerities, they have the decency and yes, the narcissism to admit it brazenly. Say what you will about the ho-hum arrangement it’s been married to, it’s not without appreciation that someone wants to tell kids how to feel things before embracing dejected posture.

Will Adams: The scuzzy chorus here is another recent example of evoking the pop rock of my youth, even before the doot-doo’s take me back further. It’s just a lot to wade through the fake “Landslide” noodling on the verses to get there.

Katherine St Asaph: Amazing how all this time, the song actually went SELL. What else could have foreshadowed the “Wolves” riff, doot-doot-doos, and general shameless sales-begging of “Handyman”?

Nortey Dowuona: The buried, thudding drums are buried by the roaring synths and grinding guitars as the flipping acoustic guitar slides through the verses and Aaron Bruno switches from whining to choking on the sawdusty chorus. Plus, Angel Haze did this song better on her admittedly preachy but still sharp “Black Dahlia.”

Jonathan Bradley: Reader, could I admit to you that I strongly believe “Fix You” to be one of the best things Coldplay ever did? Reader, at no point in “Fix You” does anyone sing “I’m a sinner/finished my dinner.” 

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