Album review: Stomping the Phantom Brake Pedal

Originally published in The Omega (January 7, 2013)

Tom DeLonge was a busy man as 2012 came to a close.

The band that vaulted him to become one of Rolling Stones’ top 100 guitarists of all-time, blink-182, released a new five-track EP, Dogs Eating Dogs, on Dec. 18, 2012.

On that same day DeLonge’s rock super-group, Angels & Airwaves, released an eight-track double EP, Stomping the Phantom Brake Pedal.

Angels & Airwaves has always been regarded as a self-described experimental art project for DeLonge and that sentiment shines through on Stomping the Phantom Brake Pedal.

The release is split up into two discs — The Score Evolved and Love Two Re-Imagined.

The double EP has been noted as a sort of hat-tip to former Angels & Airwaves sound engineer Jeff “Critter” Newell, who passed away unexpectedly on New Year’s Eve 2011.

The Score Evolved features three tracks, all pulled from the band’s full-length feature film, Love. The tracks have been expanded upon and are largely instrumental. The influence of new drummer Ilan Rubin, formerly a touring member of Nine Inch Nails, is easy to find within the dark, electronic overtones present throughout.

The standout track on The Score Evolved is “Reel 1 (Diary),” which has been accompanied by an official music video featuring a tribute to Newell and his work with the band.

Love Two Re-Imagined features five remixes from the group’s double album Love. Once again, Rubin’s influence is clear as the remixes provide a much darker mood than is typical of Angels & Airwaves’ inspirational sounds.

While Stomping the Phantom Brake Pedal might be viewed as a tad self-indulgent by Tom DeLonge and the rest of Angels & Airwaves, it fits well within the group’s progressing discography and functions as a great introduction to what Rubin is bound to contribute on future records.


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