by Melissa DePaolo
Being a huge Airborne fan after hearing the first album, I was really looking forward to this album. I don’t know if it’s the lack of surprise (all songs were previously released through the band’s phenomenal Bombastic series on YouTube) or perhaps expectations that were simply too high, All At Once has occasional spurts of inspiration, but mostly falls flat. Musically, it is very similar to the first album, but “Changing” and “The Graveyard Near the House” really stand out.
The strongest songs on the album include the radio-ready “Changing”, 80’s inspired “Numb”, and the acoustic finisher “The Graveyard Near the House”. “Changing” is a successful departure from the musical norm for the group, while remaining lyrically similar to most of their catalogue. “Numb” is less of a departure and more of an embrace of the 80’s alt sound that seems to inspire a lot of their sound. This song is a juxtaposition of beautiful music and lyrics featuring rotting corpses and philosophical musings. This would have been my favorite song as a teenager. As an adult (at least chronologically), it’s still pretty good, but to quote the song “It seems a little less profound”.
The weakest outings are the political fare “The Kids Are Ready To Die” and “Welcome to Your Wedding Day” in which the band gives us their best Muse impression. “The Kids Are Ready To Die” is a pitiful attempt to protest our current Vietnam-like war. It’s not the message that was bad, it was the way it was delivered. This song then bleeds into “Welcome To Your Wedding Day” which is a slight step forward from the previous track. It still wasn’t up to par, though. They released a single “Neda” before this album was released. That song puts these to shame and probably should have been included on this album rather than either of these songs.
Overall, I am still not sure if it was the high expectations or the lack of surprise that made me not enjoy this album very much. It’s not that it’s a bad album (I think it’s still better than 90% of current releases), it just wasn’t as strong as I would have liked it to be. I enjoyed the bombastic versions more than the album, except for The Kids Are Ready To Die. That song is still awful.