Airborne Toxic Event, "All at Once"
Airborne Toxic Event frontman Mikel Jollett sings about just wanting to be "Numb"-hardly the first Los Angeles-based rocker to do that-early on his band's second album. The truth is that "All at Once" is anything but. Even more than its self-titled 2008 predecessor, this 11-song set is filled with anthemic drama and angsty passion, sharing a timeless emotive sensibility with such '80s sources as James and the Cure (whose "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me" is name-checked in the song "Strange Girl") and contemporaries like Muse and Modest Mouse. "All at Once" is powered by the thick, stadium-sized gallop of the title track, "All I Ever Wanted" and "Half Off Something Else," but Airborne Toxic Event turns on a stylistic dime for the folky Celtic stomp of "It Doesn't Mean a Thing" and gentler songs like "All for a Woman," "The Kids Are Ready to Die" and acoustic album-closer "The Graveyard Near the House." Jollett and company do it one more time, most definitely with feeling.