When even the smallest sniffle is indicative of a pandemic, The Airborne Toxic Event is an unfortunate name for a band. Fortunately, their music is a curative.
The Los Angeles five-piece's poetic lyrics revel in both literal, universal emotions as well as grand metaphor, made all the larger by ripping guitar, pounding keys and insistent violin. Similarities to The Arcade Fire bleed through Airborne Toxic Event songs, but seem a little less willfully weird.
The single "Sometime Around Midnight" mixes simple yet profound storytelling with the musical arrangements of a fine orchestra. And as band founder/vocalist Mikel Jollett sings, "The room suddenly spinning / she walks up and asks how you are. / So you can smell her perfume / you can see her lying naked in your arms," a bow raking across a violin sounds like heartbreak.