Angels & Airwaves


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Lifeforms Review

by Matt Collar

Arriving seven years after 2014's The Dream Walker, Angels & Airwaves' sixth studio album, 2021's Lifeforms finds lead singer/songwriter Tom DeLonge further expanding his love of anthemic '80s-style alt-rock and synth pop. The extended hiatus from recording was due in part to DeLonge's work with To the Stars, his paranormal and UFO research company. And while he continues to weave alien and supernatural themes into his work on Lifeforms, the album is one of the band's most grounded. It's also one of his most rock-oriented productions. Where some of the group's past albums showcased more of a keyboard-based sound, on Lifeforms DeLonge purposefully amps up the guitars, a sound that evokes the driving punk and emo pop of his work with blink-182 and Box Car Racer. This is especially true on the rousing and cathartic "No More Guns," a stomping punk flag waver in which DeLonge ruminates on the negative effects of gun culture, racism, and police brutality. Equally compelling is "Automatic," an infectious update of Joy Division's "Ceremony" and Modern English's "Melt with You" that still conjures its own effusive atmosphere. While certainly one of the most robustly guitar-centric albums Angels & Airwaves have made, there is still plenty of synthy, otherworldly shimmer glowing at the edges of Lifeforms, and cuts like "Rebel Girl," "Euphoria," and "Spellbound" bristle with a vibrant blend of punk and dance-rock energies.

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