In a recent Rolling Stone interview, lead singer Mikel Jollett talked about being influenced by watching Bruce Springsteen documentaries, where he describes how this taught him to push himself to grow and essentially lay it all out with no regrets. Its an effort that is obvious on the increased intensity on Such Hot Blood. "Timeless", the first single, is a lofty, anthemic apex at only the second track on the album, made up of synth heavy guitars, heady themes and spiritualistic lyrics. Based on Jollett's personal experiences of deaths in his family, it's a track that tackles all the emotions of these life and death experiences with no apologies, binding it all together with his trademark emotive vocals and heavy, heavy guitar making for one helluva heavy, heavy song. "Timeless" was also on The Secret EP, which was released prior to Such Hot Blood as a teaser. The tracks that are housed on The Secret are also the tracks off Such Hot Blood that seem to weigh the most, emotionally speaking. The intensity we've seen previously on songs like "Sometime Around Midnight" is elevated on tracks like "The Storm", a quintessentially-Airborne Toxic Event song with lyrics to make any female fan swoon ("Your face in these pictures looks like a poem"), lyrics to make a poet take pause ("Your body so much like a blanket thrown/on a warm bed at night/like a house in a storm"), and lyrics that just fit perfectly in only an Airborne Toxic Event song ("I surprise myself sometimes/the way the days unfold and this road unwinds/you tell me you see it too/and the miles feel like inches when I think of you"). All of these lyrics are, of course, taken to new heights with the fervent vocals of Jollett, who effortlessly adjusts the emotive quality of his voice on a particular verse by taking the intensity up, and drawing it back down in a controlled manor when necessary.
Despite the emotional heaviness and intensity, there is something about all of this that makes it seem like they are actually just having the time of their lives. They are a band that translates well live, laying it all out there on stage. But then there's this hint of a sly grin on Mikel Jollett's face, giving away just how much they are actually enjoying themselves. That kind of sly, joyful grin permeates the album- not in tonality or lyrics, but in the fierceness of the music, and of singing of the perils of heartbreak and life and death - and finding the release and the surrender in being able to do so.
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