Off the Cuff: The Airborne Toxic Event’s “One Time Thing”

Posted: February 2, 2015 in A Little Less Profound
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The Airborne Toxic Event, Dope MachinesBy Glen

Fans of The Airborne Toxic Event got another pleasant surprise late Monday night when the band announced that “One Time Thing,” the second track from their new album Dope Machines, would be released at midnight. It is now available for immediate download when you pre-order the album from iTunes.

After debuting the song live at the Troubadour on Friday night and performing it again Saturday in Vancouver, The Airborne Toxic Event released a number of 15-second teasers over the past few days, hinting that the full song would appear sooner rather than later.

Much like “Wrong” before it, there is a significantly different vibe to the studio recording as compared to the live rendition, which admittedly is still in the earliest days of its evolution. There is a harsh and experimental edge to the album version that wasn’t fully realized on stage, where Mikel Jollett has to be kinder to his vocal chords and the coarse synths get toned down a touch so as not to drown out everything else. Oh, and then of course there’s the minor matter of guitars, which take on a greater role in concert despite being minimized on the recording, apart from what sounds like a heavily distorted bass line.

Whereas the recently released “Chains” had nervous fans breathing easier with its familiar TATE flavors, “One Time Thing” is more likely to be divisive. Mikel warned that some fans would be turned off by the new sound, and there have certainly been rumblings of that as bits and pieces of the album have surfaced. Of all that we’ve heard to date, “One Time Thing” pushes the ball the furthest down field from traditional TATE territory.

The layering here is thick enough to cut, with voice upon voice upon voice through most of the track: high, low and in between, lilting above a thoroughly electronic background that will require a very good set of headphones to fully absorb. And yet, the song ambles along at a laid-back pace for nearly three minutes, until the singer roars, “Why don’t you tell me what you mean?” and all hell breaks loose. For those who like their Mikel vocals throaty (*raises hand*), it’s a glorious moment indeed.

Lyrically, “One Time Thing” traces a relationship that could never be. Against all his better judgment and the warnings of those in the know (“Somebody told me I should stay away… Somebody told me you were mean”), the narrator wistfully desires something more than just the one time thing that is in the offing. He’d be well advised not to hold his breath: it ain’t happening.

The same holds true for those who were hoping Mikel was exaggerating when he said he wanted to destroy the sound for which The Airborne Toxic Event has been known.


“One Time Thing” is now available in the iTunes store.

Glen, Fan of The Airborne Toxic EventGlen is the founder and editor of This Is Nowhere. He’s grateful for an understanding wife and kids who indulge his silly compulsion to chase a band all over the Pacific Northwest (and occasionally beyond) every time the opportunity arises.

  1. jqj213 says:

    This song is very very very different from anything else theyve done. However, and this is from a long time fan, I love this song! Somehing about it is so catchy and well done. It has a place in my top 5 now with “Half of Something Else” and “All I Ever Wanted” and “Strange Girl” and “Sometime Around midnight”
    Maybe its because ive been through it before. Maybe its because im sleep deprived. I dont know yet. But this is now my favorite track from Dope Machines.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. treendabean says:

    I’m really liking the soul vibe I’m getting from this song. I can picture some girls in lamĂ© dresses singing backup vocals.
    I caught a live recording from the Fairmont before I heard the studio version and while I love the enthusiasm Mikel obviously has during the performance I like the studio version much, much more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Off the Cuff: The Airborne Toxic Event’s “One Time Thing” […]


  4. […] Off the Cuff: The Airborne Toxic Event’s “One Time Thing” […]


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