• Record Label: Island
  • Release Date: Apr 26, 2011
Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. Apr 28, 2011
    80
    It's clear that All at Once is a record of big sounds, bigger themes and enormous – and entirely achieved – ambitions. A crushing classic.
  2. Apr 22, 2011
    80
    The Airborne Toxic Event can hold their heads high safe in the knowledge their supposedly difficult second album is a resolute triumph in the face of adversity.
  3. Apr 27, 2011
    79
    The lyrics explode with angst, music fills the scenes with detail, and the answers all raise questions.
  4. It's not that All at Once isn't a likable record; it just seems rather scattershot, and none of it captures the hard-hitting intensity of their debut's best cuts.
  5. 75
    Jollett funnels his anger] into histrionic modern-rock jams laced with folky sensitivity. [6 May 2011, p.74]
  6. Apr 26, 2011
    75
    Until then, Jollett will have to make do with the brass ring he's holding on to with all his fortitude; everyone else can just come along for the ride.
  7. Apr 29, 2011
    74
    Jollett and company do it one more time, most definitely with feeling.
  8. Apr 22, 2011
    70
    Although frontman Mikel Jollet still falls on life's thorns, the band's second album supports his weighty themes with more instrumental muscle.
  9. Jun 2, 2011
    60
    All at Once is every bit as self-important as its predecessor, but its anxieties can sometimes feel rote and stretched beyond recognition.
  10. May 16, 2011
    60
    Jollett's weighty musing are all but neutered by his determination to cover all musical bases but, as an alt-rock starter-kit, it's just about perfect. [May 2011, p.109]
  11. Apr 27, 2011
    60
    ATE doesn't shy away from their debts to the Killers and the Strokes, they brandish their influences so brazenly the echoes reverberate upon themselves and turn into something not quite their own but not quite recycled: it's insistent mood pop designed for its moment, getting enough momentum from its bounce and melody to be something of a pleasure.
  12. 60
    Overall, it treads an uncertain line between bombast and sensitivity.
  13. Apr 22, 2011
    60
    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.
  14. Apr 21, 2011
    60
    The hue of the proceedings feels significantly dialed-down and stark and the result feels more like a Jollett solo album and less like a great band flexing its myriad abilities. [May 2011, p.92]
  15. May 16, 2011
    40
    The blue-collar earnestness is still served in large dollops, but there;s a sense of over-reach about the whole thing. [May 2011, p.100]
  16. May 13, 2011
    40
    Sickly aspiring novelist turned singer-songwriter Mikel Jollett can knock out a powerful anthem, but his relentless yearning choruses and chiming guitar harmonies ring rather hollow as signifiers of emotion. [Jun 2011, p.77]
  17. Apr 29, 2011
    40
    You root for the good intentions and enjoy the glints of sunlight from singer/viola player Anna Bulbrook. But portentous verses thud like birds against fuselage.
  18. 30
    Shocker! The long-awaited (it says here) follow-up to a sublimely average debut is another half-arsed muppet show executed with the charisma of a terminally ill sloth.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Sep 18, 2011
    10
    I have no idea how this album has got so bad reviews, to me it is close to be a masterpiece. ^^ The writing is the most essential, MikelI have no idea how this album has got so bad reviews, to me it is close to be a masterpiece. ^^ The writing is the most essential, Mikel Jollet is truly a great songwriter in my opinion. The lyrics on songs such as The Graveyard Near the House and All At Once are amazing. Somehow this band just gets to my emotions more than many other bands. It might not be a completely original album, I have to agree on that, but the songs are insanely good and the lyrics are great. The album contains songs, which all deal with difficulties that adults can go through or worry about. Hollow relationships, growing old, war etc. It seems like Mikel Jollet has written his thoughts on his own life and on some global issues and written them down into an album. My favourites on this album is the anti-die-without-purpose song The kids are ready to die, the truly beautiful lovesong, The Graveyard Near the House and the epic All At Once, which is just a great song about growing old. 10/10 is nothing less than what I can give this fantastic album, which deserves way better reviews than it has received. Full Review »
  2. Jul 14, 2011
    5
    Los Angeles quintet Airborne Toxic Event generate a"Marmite" effect on the professional reviewers. Many find their emotional indie rockLos Angeles quintet Airborne Toxic Event generate a"Marmite" effect on the professional reviewers. Many find their emotional indie rock pretentious, overwrought and bombastic, whilst the other half appreciates their uncompromising commitment to create passionately epic music that mulls over personal traumas with hardened confessionals. The 2008 breakthrough single "Sometime Around Midnight" remains the most familiar and indeed best example of their potential, and "All At Once" finds leader Mikel Jollett attempting to match that impact by creating a number of songs that contain almost identical melodies and tempos. It's a high risk strategy, and probably the main reason for their heavy criticism from certain detractors. On the band's debut, Jollet had personal suffering including his mother's passing, and his own debilitating auto-immune illness to fuel the content of his songs. "All At Once" is like a second helping, albeit a slightly less satisfying dollop of woeful angst. Opener "Wishing Well" is a carbon copy of "Sometime Around Midnight" right down to the melody, the increasingly powerful rhythm and Jollet's vivid lyrical expressions. It's not a bad song, but the similarities just overpower the message. "Numb" almost falls into the same trap, only to be saved by harder crunching guitars. The political "Welcome To Your Wedding Day", which describes the inadvertent U.S bombing of an Afghan wedding sounds remarkably like Green Day's "Holiday" and therefore loses much of its impact. Only on the sweetly gentle "Strange Girl" do we hear anything wholly original from the band as everything else feels like muddled combinations from a host of influencers including The Arcade Fire, Snow Patrol, Interpol, and many more. http://hackskeptic.com Full Review »
  3. Jun 3, 2011
    7
    This album is amazing - the first handful of times you listen. And then it slides down to "just pretty good." I think the singer has aThis album is amazing - the first handful of times you listen. And then it slides down to "just pretty good." I think the singer has a particularly nice voice, he sings passionately and it makes you want to join in. Full Review »