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Airbag - All Rights Removed CD (album) cover





4.00 | 525 ratings

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Thai Divone
4 stars Airbag was a nice little discovery- a Norwegian band that plays an amazing style of Neo-Prog, something that combines The Cure, Anathema and the Pink Floyd. Since I've discovered this album, it has been spinning in my stereo and in my ears, and I can't say that I had enough of this album. It is just a magnificent one.

The title track opens almost like a Cure song, with some nice guitar riffs. 33 seconds in and the lyrics join in, Torstrup sounding almost like Robert Smith. The keyboards join in not much later, reminding me a bit of the Floyd. The rest of the band joins around 1:30, and a nice guitar solo ensues. The music is very atmospheric, very dark and gloomy, but with a slice of added optimism on top. The music is not complicated, but by flowing gently around the main riff it clears the stage for the emotions and for some beautiful guitar lines. Some Porcupine influences can be felt as well during those moments.

White Walls comes next, making me imagine a meeting between Anathema and the Floyd- midway between their styles. The bass lines in here are great, and the drumming is slow and almost basic but with an added spark of genius. A quiet passage begins at 2:50, with an added emphasis on the bass following not much later before the song goes boom, driving home all the emotional impact that it gathered in a great guitar solo that just pierces the sky in pain.

White Walls flows gently into The Bridge. In a very Floyd-ian way the tracks combine to create a long album- length suite. The Bridge adds a little bit of Radiohead into the mix, making the genre combination sound even more impressive yet not losing the emotional charm.

Never Coming Home begins with a soft, ethereal, almost church-y organ sound. 55 seconds in and the vocals enter, sounding even lonelier over the keyboards, before the guitar starts to join in, slowly but surely. The sounds are slow and their getting their time to reverb, to ring. The entire band joins not much later, with a nice Floyd-ian guitar riff. The guitar solo at 2:49 is short but I can't give it enough compliments. The emotional punch of Torstrup's singing is the only thing that can answer it and do it justice. 4:24 and the keyboards return to take the lead, with a very elegant synth solo, and then the band comes back to complement it. 5:20 and the guitar finally answers the synths, and each sound gets so much respect, and all one can do is listen, feel, and listen again this time with awe.

Light Them All Up follows, a short and instrumental l track, gloomy and so? when the just makes me cry again and again, with each new listen. Some SFX-es can be heard in the background but they don't detract from the violin, neither do they detract from the sounds that surround the violin.

And after that comes Homesick, an epic suite of 17 amazing minutes. Acoustic guitars and a soft voice take us first, until we switch trains at 1:20 and get to a more electrified sound with the entire band present. Layers are added, things are changing, and yet it feels so damn right, so true. It all flows gently. 2:57 and we get to a soft and almost silent passage, with the bass taking the lead. 3:40 and the guitars come back, and we're advancing again, getting to a simple but effective and evocative keyboards solo, later answered by a muted-guitar solo. 6 minutes and the keyboards guide us next, with some added effects from all around, but kept to a bare minimum. Everything is so right. 6:50 and it starts to remind a bit of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, but then a bass line enters and takes us to a new place, taking us to a new journey, all while still keeping close to the Shine On feel. So original yet so known. The drums join next, and one can almost imagine the members of the band returning from their coffee break, one after the other. The rhythm is a bit repetitive, but in a good way, mesmerizing and hypnotizing all those who listen. The guitar takes the lead at around the 9 minute mark, sounding a bit like Empty Spaces from the Wall, and the pace builds itself, going faster and faster, quicker and quicker. 10:50 and we're slowing again, coming back to the Shine On-y sound of earlier. A soft guitar solo can be heard at around the 12th minute mark, then we get all rock-y without losing the soft touch of only moments earlier, and we're back to the suspense building segments before starting something new. The piece starts to wrap itself, slowing more and more, clearing the stage for the soft, long, almost lonely keyboards of earlier times. And there's a nice guitar that accompanies it, fading out.

And the album ends with such magnificence. I think that by now I gave this album 20, maybe even 30 listens, and still I feel like I haven't finished with it, like it still has some secrets, or emotions, to pass to me. And although that it is not an essential album, and even though this is not an album that tries to say something new, it does achieve what it tries to achieve- making us feel. And that's an amazing thing to do, and an excellent addition to one's collection.

Thai Divone | 4/5 |


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