When Angels and Airwaves returned to the studio after 2011's Love: Part Two, their fourth LP, the band wanted to experiment in an environment that Tom DeLonge describes as "much more organic" than previous sessions. The frontman and singer, also of Blink-182, tells Rolling Stone that the group wanted its new record, titled The Dream Walker and streaming below, to "have a lot more angst and kind of play around with that kind of darkness that we've never done before in this band."
The finished product mixes rock tracks like lead single "Paralyzed" with left turns like "The Wolfpack," a synth-heavy jam inspired by LCD Soundsystem and drummer Ilan Rubin's "Trent Reznor-Depeche Mode approach."
"Ilan's the guy who stays up all night long and programs his own analog synthesizer sound," says DeLonge. "He doesn't just plug in a synth and play a note, he offsets and filters and creates his own tonalities. That song is a collision of California and some rainier parts of an electronic England."
Another highlight, "Tunnels," began on the night DeLonge's father died. The singer describes the track as the best representation of Angels and Airwaves' current state: "It still maintains that kind of spiritual, aspirational quality, but the musicianship on it is an evolution," he says. "I'll get teary-eyed, and I'll get the goosebumps, and I'll get these kind of reflections on losing a family member – but I'll also get the feeling like I'm a part of a piece of art that matters."
The Dream Walker will be released December 9th via To the Stars Records, accompanied by a 14-minute animated short film titled Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker. Hear it below.