The Airborne Toxic Event's Hollywood Park: a grandiose reflection on a tumultuous life

The Airborne Toxic Event's Hollywood Park is an autobiographical epic full of cults and glory

The Airborne Toxic Event: Hollywood Park
(Image: © Rounder Records)

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You tell me that you wanna know my story,’ Mikel Jollett howls on I Don’t Wanna Be Here Anymore, the sound of a stadium Strokes. ‘I promise you it’s boring.’ 

I promise you it’s not. The singer of Silver Lake’s Airborne Toxic Event started life in a violent cult, and escaped into a life steeped in poverty, addiction and redemptive rock’n’roll, all of which is detailed in his tour de force memoir Hollywood Park, of which this sixth TATE album acts as loose soundtrack. 

The references to heroin, religion, parole and emotional fracture are far more opaque here. Instead the album acts as an impressionistic reflection of a tumultuous life, building on the grandiosity that made their single Sometime Around Midnight so revelatory in 2008 to create an hour of sheer roar-along brilliance.

Lacing ornate atmospheres to Bruce Springsteen’s noble Americana, the title track (named after a racetrack) is a fanfare rock gallop you could imagine Flash Gordon roping steers to, while Everything I Love Is Broken, Carry Me and rehab-ready beast The Common Touch imagine The National hurling themselves into the Grand Canyon. 

Touches of early Depeche Mode and misty disco rock leaven the mood, swept along on a righteous tide of bombastic rock euphoria. 


Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle.