The Airborne Toxic Event: ‘All At Once’ Review

Artist: The Airborne Toxic Event
Album: All At Once
Label: Island Records

The Airborne Toxic Event’s sophomore album, All At Once, is darker and grittier than their self-titled debut album. This five piece California-based band has an album filled with themes of death, love in all variations, being true to oneself, and even politics swirled together by beautiful and thought provoking lyrics.

The album’s opening tunes of “All At Once” and “Numb” are remnants of The Airborne Toxic Event, complete with a sweeping and epic sound that is continuously building, throwing in plenty of guitar riffs and a driving beat. “Numb” in particular could be something Molly Ringwald could be heard listening to on a boombox while filming any John Hughes movie.

“Changing” changes it up a bit, incorporating the new sound of the album with attitude filled lyrics about being yourself and not changing for anyone, immersed with an eclectic sound of layering guitars and a heavy bass line.

“All For A Woman” slows the album down but definitely packs a punch with the lead singer’s raw and emotional voice, reminiscent to the vibe of “Sometime Around Midnight” in remembering a love lost.

“It Doesn’t Mean A Thing” is a short rockabilly tune, which tells the story of parents teaching life lessons. “The Kids Are Ready to Die” is somber and angry, speaking cleverly of government officials who want to train/teach today’s youth to fight and die for a cause they themselves would not fight for. “Welcome To Your Wedding” is inspired by the death of an Afghanistan wedding party who were mistakenly attacked by American troops, accompanied with a rock tempo and synthesizers.

“Half of Something Else” is another emotional tune with sad lyrics of love ending and feeling incomplete without that person. “Strange Girl” peps the album back up with it’s overall Cure sound. “All I Ever Wanted” is an orchestra heavy number of another love, this time one that is falling apart while the couple pretends to be happy. It builds intensely throughout the song and is easily a favorite on the album. The album closes with “The Graveyard Near The House”, which only features a single guitar throughout the song which speaks of death and loving someone even after they have died.

All At Once runs through a gamut of emotions; sadness, joy, indignation, anger. The Airborne Toxic Event loses some of its popish sound and goes into uncharted territory expressing darker and more political statements. Be prepared to be exhausted emotionally when it’s over.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Written by Alisha Vazquez

All At Once on Amazon
[itunes link=”″ title=”All At Once on iTunes” text=”All At Once on iTunes”]

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