The Airborne Toxic Event's 2009 debut pitched itself perfectly between Bright Eyes, the Killers and the Strokes. This time, they've muscled up, nodded to the blue collar and emerged somewhere between Bruce Springsteen, U2 and the Pogues. Frontman Mikel Jollett is as adept at songwriting as guiding his band through such changes: All At Once and Numb are instant, stadium-size anthems, and when the band sound as if they're trying to cover too many bases at once, Jollett's enthusiasm for a killer chorus and a good, dramatic yarn sees him home. The Kids Are Ready to Die's overegged line "I was 13 when I had my first taste of danger" – an age when most of us face no greater peril than falling off a bicycle – ventures towards self-parody, but when the song itself is so strong, it doesn't seem to matter.
The Airborne Toxic Event: All at Once – review
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author