Review Summary: I Am Alaska's debut EP shows off great potential while still leaving something for the listeners to be anticipating for on the full-length album.
I Am Alaska is an Indie Rock band with Post-Hardcore aspects that has the labels recommending the band for fans of The Mars Volta, Circa Survive, At The Drive-In, and Glassjaw. The main concern would be if this mixture could successfully be pulled off. The Philadelphia five-piece, which formed in late 2006, is signed to Attic Records and No Sleep Records for the release of their debut EP A Day In A Life
. The goal of the band is to record an album different from what every other band is recording. As stated by Rob in our interview, “Jay and I got to talking about music and our discontent with the music bands were putting out, including our own, and wanted to delve into a different project.” Have they accomplished what they have set off to do?
It all starts with the simple drum line during the intro of the track “Proletariat
”. The bass is also heard during the intro of the track before the keys and vocals come in at the same time. The keys and synths make for a great atmospheric vide as the vocals are soft, warm, and welcoming as the track builds up with a good guitar riff. The riff then fades out into a faster drum line. The vocals changes to harsh vocals that leads to the song quickening its pace with a distorted guitar riff that fits in really well with Rob's screams.
A technical guitar intro leads into a nice softer guitar riff with a backing snare and cymbal that begins “Death In A Silent Picture
”. Rob then displays his sweet vulnerable vocals before he goes to his harsh vocals, which transitions nicely to his screams. The drums and guitars shows off some great musicianship during the middle section of the song. The guitarists show off some of their technical side as the drummer uses the whole drum kit. After an instrumental break, there is a semi-technical bass line all by itself. Rob then has a verse where he slightly sounds like Craig Owens. The song then finishes with chugging guitars that do not fit the song.
The lead, and possibly only, single off the EP is “Get Real
”. The opening is really off in regards to the rest of the album. The intro guitar riff is decent and the vocals are not up to par of the rest of the EP. He seems to be forcing something that is just not there. After that, though, the vocals and instruments get back on par with the technical guitar riff and the vocals are left to flow like normal. The middle of the song has a good guitar riff and excellent vocals that more than makes up for the blunder at the beginning. There is actually singing on this track, and it is very good. The guitars are very melodic throughout the whole track. The repetition of the line "Get Real" can get annoying after a while, especially the last time.
Great opening guitars and synths found on “[b]Wallflower” that leads into slightly more energetic vocals than found at the beginning of the album. The instrumental break helps the guitars and leads into a simple bass line. There is some nice guitar fretting and synth/key work near the middle of the song. The song then gets very catchy near the middle that leads into distorted guitar riffs with a vocal trade-off. The second instrumental break of the song brings the bass back into the mix to be heard and keeps it there for a while. The drums really keep it simple on this and most of the other tracks. The song ends with distorted guitars and a Synth part that leads into one final chorus repetition. The synth does not fit into the song that well though. It is to mechanic for a raw feeling track.
The final track, and most logical choice for a second single, is “Ghost
”. The band as a whole feels that this track is the best representation of their sound. The track opens up with two good guitar riffs with the drums. Keyboard makes an appearance on this track as it works really well with the guitars and drums. All the instruments then mellow out a bit for the vocals to take center stage. The guitar riff is technical but sounds almost like some of the other guitar riffs. The vocals seem to still be refreshing this far into the EP. During the late middle of the song, the instruments come back full force, including bass, as one of the best vocal parts on the album starts. The EP then ends with a decent synth sample.
A Day In A life
is the best of two worlds: the softer Indie Rock and the heavier Post-Hardcore. The guitar work really only disappoints during the opening of “Get Real
”. They really are the foundation of the mixture that I Am Alaska is looking to achieve, being melodic when needed but can switch to distorted riffs at anytime. The vocals are almost always great, except for the blunder during the opening of “Get Real”, and shows off some great range and even greater potential on a full length. Some people may find Rob's vocals to be annoying and whiny but to me his vocals fit really well with the music. The rhythm section is a mixture of things. The bass plays a big role in the sound that the band is going for; however, the drums are usually simple and mundane.
I Am Alaska's debut EP shows off great potential while still leaving something for the listeners to be anticipating for on the full-length album. One thing to note is that with two labels having already signed this band, with No Sleep signing the band from them listening to this very EP, I Am Alaska may very well be close to exploding into the scene. A Day In A Life
shows off great vocals and guitars, with good drums and bass backing them up.