Airspace

Airspace takes you "All The Way Up"

On this the day when our nation celebrates its proud history of annual mattress sales and of drunkenly blowing off one’s own digits while setting off small incendiary devices purchased in Pennsylvania, music is a crucial aspect of any such celebration. And not just any music, but music befitting a nation known for its above ground swimming pools, Natty Light, and Freedom Rock CD compilations.

Airspace are a band hailing from the Billy Joel-beknighted town of Allentown, Pennsylvania who make just such music. And let there be no doubt this is intended as a compliment because no one wants or needs to hear Animal Collective at the backyard barbecue cookout even if that otherwise quite worthy band happen to have a song called “Fireworks” (sample lyric: “A sacred night where we'll watch the fireworks / the frightened babies poo”).

Quoting directly from their Bandcamp bio: “Airspace always aims to leave their listeners feeling strong, alive, and inspired” and thank goodness there’s still indie bands out there willing to perform this service and who aren’t embarrassed to admit it. And on their recently-released full-length All The Way Up, Airspace pull off this ambitious goal with style and panache. Plus the barbecue gang will welcome this album being played off the iPod’s portable speakers cuz it kind of like Green Album era Weezer being welcomed back with open arms after the post-Pinkerton years in the desert ready to just have fun again but long before they would reach a point of resorting to recording Toto covers just because the Millennials love the memes (no disrespect intended to either Millennials, Toto, or Rivers Cuomo).

But I digress. Airspace are the focus here and to these ears their music evokes the Everyman working-class rock of one Bruce Springsteen and the Everyman suburban party rock of one Mr. John Bon Jovi in equal measures and don’t worry Everywomen are invited to the party too just ask Courtney Cox and Heather Locklear who are already here having a great time. And yes while this description is a bit New Jersey centric the state is of course a neighbor and close cousin to Pennsylvania.

And speaking of the latter let’s give the Quaker State it’s due too as an ancestral home of feel good, quintessentially American music ranging from Bill Haley and his Comets (authors of the first rock ‘n’ roll crossover pop hit “Rock Around The Clock”) to the many greats of Philly Soul and the whole Gamble & Huff/Sigma Sound Studios catalogue of classic R&B, soul, and disco hits without which this country’s young 70s-era young Americans would have ended up trying to dance to the Carpenters “Superstar” which is a great song but not exactly an obvious floor filler.



But I digress, again. All The Way Up opens in boisterous form with a quick strummed guitar and a solid backbeat before breaking into a hummable lead guitar line that'll get you waving your sparklers in the air to the point that you'll probably not even notice that the lyrics open with a bummer sentiment ("The sun is out, but I don't care / it only hurts my eyes") before going on to describe a lost love and the obsessive longing that follows. But Airspace are one of those bands good are writing songs that sound like heroic, even patriotic, aspirational anthems but whose lyrics feature an assortment of seekers, schemers, and dreamers just looking for some kind of break--a better life, a better place to live, a better love life, etc.--much like a certain previously mentioned Boss Man. The very next song "Monaco" is another good example where the narrator longs for a fantasy getaway on the French Riviera ("In Monaco it's not so cold / limitations never hold") or for another example check out "Making It Out" ("And it's days like this that make me miss / the years of hell in the South / 'cause God at least I had the hope / of one day making it out") or really most of the other songs on the album (but don't worry there's a few more lyrically optimistic songs on the album too cuz you gotta mix it up some).

Because really, when you think about it, what's more American than being all upbeat and brash and very nearly arrogant on the surface (the music) but underneath it all being very nearly crippled by self-doubt, disappointment, and longing (the lyrics). So there. I got you sorted musically for the 4th and proud to be an American to boot but without having to listen to that godawful Lee Greenwood song. Now please drink responsibly and try not to blow any fingers off! (Jason Lee)