I got excited about this band based solely on their name, which is the title of the second section of Don DeLillo’s excellent 1985 novel on family, culture, and fear, White Noise. Fortunately, this Los Angeles indie rock quintet don’t try to cram all of these heady themes into the three tracks on their self-titled debut EP. Instead, they focus on writing great tunes that echo the Smiths, Interpol, and any other guitar pop band that likes to cloak its sunny sounds in rain clouds. Opening track “Does This Mean You’re Moving On?” perfectly balances the toe-tapping grooves of Franz Ferdinand with the lazy rock vibe of the Strokes. The jangle-pop of “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” is reminiscent of Trash Can Sinatras (which, coming from me, is very high praise, indeed) and features the line, “Don’t hate me, I was only making sense”. The EP closes with “Wishing Well”, which comes bouncing in on keyboards and a steady kick drum pulse; then the tom-toms jump in, the guitars take off, and the whole track soars. This is one of the better EPs I’ve come across in a while. In a just and fair world, The Airborne Toxic Event would be on their way to becoming indie rock favorites of critics and fans the world over. Maybe, just for a moment, the world will get it right for a change.
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