ALBUM REVIEW: Hollywood Park – The Airborne Toxic Event
BEST TRACKS: All The Children, Everything I Love Is Broken, Come On Out
FCC violations: Brother, Everything I Love Is Broken, The Common Touch, Carry Me
Here’s something you don’t hear about every band: the lead singer of The Airborne Toxic Event, Mikel Jollett, was born into a cult. Along with this album, Jollett released a memoir of the same name in which he relates his experiences growing up in, and later escaping into poverty, the infamously dangerous cult Synanon. Jollett’s harsh life experiences, which taught him about family, loss, and resilience find their way into the lyrics of his songs to make for a truly grounding and profound listening experience. However, this Los Angeles band isn’t just notable for their frontman’s shocking history. I was enchanted by the sense of intimacy, jangly acoustic guitar, and superior melodies on Hollywood Park long before I ever found out about any of the cult stuff.
Hollywood Park exhibits several lively, electric and acoustic riffs and satisfying melodies. Songs on this album range from flourishingly cinematic to minimalistically acoustic. My favorite track on the album, ‘All The Children’ has an exciting buildup that erupts into a cathartic, folksy chorus. A sparking piano and a cinematic violin make an appearance on track 9, ‘The Place Where We Meet A Thousand Feet Beneath The Racetrack’. Jollett effectively uses a country-folk drawling vocal approach at times, coupled with garage rock shouting, to create a unique dynamic. These songs have the brutal honesty of an Iron & Wine song and the infectious rhythm of a Killers song.
This album feels like something you would hear sitting around the bonfire in the fleeting summer nights after highschool. It inhabits a world of sunsets, dusty roads, and big blue lakes. Hollywood Park truly captures the ever-tenacious all American spirit. Spin this record this upcoming Fourth of July. I highly recommend this album to fans of The Killers, Bruce Springsteen,The Wallflowers, The National, or My Morning Jacket.