Thursday, November 24, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: The Alaska - Above and Below EP

By Josh Custodio

Above and Below is the debut EP from progressive rock band The Alaska. After seeing this band live a handful of times in Vancouver, I was very much looking forward to their first recorded output, and Above and Below did not disappoint.

This record places a high importance on mood; each songs' highs and lows feel like they are building towards something. The album is trying to get the listener swept up in the layers and layers of music that The Alaska present here. For an EP, this packs a ton of content in each listen. Songs here truly sound huge.

On this collection, each song plays like a miniature story; rarely do these tracks end up where they began. With a run time just shy of half an hour and only 4 tracks, each song averages to be about 7 minutes long. For example, take opening track “Nightmute”: opening with just guitar and hi-hat, it explodes around the 2 minute mark, and reverts back to quite before the 8-minute finish line. The constant changes within each song are engaging, and demand attention.

Guitarist Kevin Giesbrecht steals the show on the bulk of this album, utilizing guitar tones that are not standard for the genre. His guitar is an audiophile's dream, always being exactly as clean/distorted as the situation demands. Keeping everything interesting in 7 minute tracks is a challenge, one which this band seems more than capable of stepping up to.

My only real issue with this album is the production in parts; each member of the band seems very isolated from the others. This may have been a creative choice, however, these guys are clearly talented musicians, I would have enjoyed hearing the interplay between them a little bit more.

All in all, this is a solid showing from a promising band. If you are a fan of prog rock or post rock this is certainly worth the download. Also, its pay-what-you-want. Tough to go wrong there.

Listen/Download here

Standout track: Nightmute

You can follow Josh Custodio @_allmyfriends

1 comment:

  1. Paid $4. Worth everything. Remind me a lot of an Aussie band called Karnivool. Nice review, Josh.