I Am Alaska
To Elude The Architect


4.5
superb

Review

by c0ffee USER (5 Reviews)
December 16th, 2010 | 62 replies | 9,719 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “I can hear them laughing; I can hear them yelling."

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

"…won’t you come with me?”

Hailing from PA--not Alaska--the progressive/experimental/post-hardcore quintet that constitutes I Am Alaska share their newest design. There’s a sense of cold, off-the-grid loneliness associated with ‘Alaska’; just an instinctive image of frozen, foggy tundra. IAA caged this mental image, locked it up in a mason jar, and stored it in a dark cupboard.

To Elude the Architect, IAA’s second (also more dense and ripened) EP delivers potent punches one measure only to caress the measure after. They managed to take the blistering passion from A Day In a Life and harness and manipulate that vitality without dulling it a note. They poked little air holes in that mason jar to allow solemnity to waft out throughout the EP, and occasionally they pop the lid to release a wailing windstorm.

To Elude the Architect bellows out to those who listen--howling “ESCAPE!” …to elude your surroundings. …to elude anything that attempts to predestine you. Being born into a town isn’t a definitive identifier, so IAA document the struggle in leaving people/things behind that have woven and wriggled into your life. How do you leave that which you were inevitably attached to? IAA requests you join in with the escape.

Should they be considered the band-baby of a Dredg, At The Drive In, and Circa Survive ménage-a-trois? No, and they don’t attempt to. But it’s impossible to ignore layers and inspirations relative to these bands, and fortunately this collision isn’t forced or messy. IAA is following in the current wave of experimentalism; this sub-genre inherently creates that which is new, and this EP obliges. Sometimes the guitar is pounding in unison with warbly, fervent, and violent vocals. Then the ensemble shifts to soft, sculpted, soothing melodies with atmospheric, snaking guitar lines. These transitions from frantic to soothing are palpable and melodramatic, and this contrast is a strongpoint of the EP, which is incredibly layered, so set aside some ear-time to decipher everything.

The overall effort shares the same concept. “Won’t you come with me” is repeated in three of the songs. An empowering call for others to join in with not merely accepting change, but provoking the changes in your life…eluding the maze-like floor plans that the architect pens out.

Canvas begins eerily, with dark-doomful Salvador Dali-like lyrics. The throbbing guitar progression clashes in, and the lyrics repeat “chasing me, surrounding me,” establishing the situation--trapped. With some lines, you can visualize the words being squeezed out through gritted teeth. Where the Wild Things Are begs the question, "should I sail away, or should I stay?" and fades out with an unanswered, desolate guitar riff. The EP continues to build in tension with reposes to counterbalance the chaos. Lobo (a gray/timber wolf as in the album artwork) unfolds beautifully. The carefully crafted rhythms pound and progress, while the guitar aura sounds more agitated all the time. This piece embodies the theme. It goes from “I can hear them right behind” and “all that I know is suffocating in this town” then returns to a blistering “I CAN HEAR THEM.” It is illustrating the immediate need to abandon this place. This is the point of change. IAA wails “I can hear them laughing; I can hear them yelling,” and enough! They need more than new scenery; they need a lungful of new life. This desperation to escape leads into Train Car's plea, “won’t you come with me?”

IAA's final statement of Them is grim-- “but there’s no escaping them,” --and an indication of that perpetual, nagging feeling of being unsettled. Perhaps the architect abides already (and always will) at the destination.

But the theme continues to resonate:

Escape.




4.3/5

Give Lobo a listen at least.



The music:
http://iamalaska.bandcamp.com/album/to-elude-the-architect


user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
c0ffee
December 16th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, first review. go gentle on me.

JustJoe
December 16th 2010



1399 Comments


The first thing I noticed is the overuse of ellipses. It becomes distracting over the course of the review.

c0ffee
December 16th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks. i tweaked it.

KritikalMotion
December 16th 2010



2261 Comments


Never got this one, aditl is fucking epic though, couldn't believe how good it was when i got it.

DoubtGin
December 17th 2010



6748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the opener is the best one by far imo

c0ffee
December 17th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Kritikal
I loved Ghost off of that album, but this one seems much tighter and more composed.

c0ffee
December 17th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, and it's worth a listen. I just remember it being hard to find way back when.

Acanthus
December 17th 2010



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Took your advice and listened to "Lobo," it really started to sink in about the 2:00 mark. Have to check the others out, but I can see this being quite enjoyable.

Digging: The Cure - The Head on the Door

Josh D.
December 17th 2010



13967 Comments


Guess I should try this out.

Josh D.
December 17th 2010



13967 Comments


I don't like some of the similar band names thrown around, but I always like experimental post-hardcore, so...

c0ffee
December 17th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Some parts may seem 'boring' or slow, but it's the building up that fascinates me. I listened to a few random A Lot Like Birds songs, and the first one sounded a bit up IAA's alley. For the most part, ALLB had more distortion/chords while IAA has more individual parts happening. I'm not familiar with a lot of ALLB, though. Also, the IAA singer doesn't scream (though he approaches it).

I'm curious what you'll think, Josh D. I feel the guy's voice will be a make-it-or-break-it deal for some.

c0ffee
December 17th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll try to do the same for Plan B.

Josh D.
December 17th 2010



13967 Comments


Well, it might be make or break. I think I've listened to ALLB before and the vocals were a huge turn off, so hopefully it isn't like that.

Josh D.
December 17th 2010



13967 Comments


Well, I made a list today of three things to get, and this is on it. I'm working all night, so I will try to get around to it.

c0ffee
December 17th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The vocals remind me mostly of TMV's Cedric, but there's a tone difference. I don't want to force too many
resemblances. The IAA (I need to learn these fellas' names) vocalist sounds quite a bit different when he's singing
lower.

What he does sounds natural though...and fitting.

Josh D.
December 18th 2010



13967 Comments


Well, you are right, the vocals are make-or-break.



Break, I say. His high tone is painful.

GeorgeCostanza
December 18th 2010



196 Comments


I, MYSELF, AM WAR

Josh D.
December 18th 2010



13967 Comments


Great.

Scoot
December 18th 2010



17681 Comments


This any good?

Digging: Unjust - Glow

Josh D.
December 18th 2010



13967 Comments


Seems ok, but I couldn't get past the vocals. But I also can't stand Anthony Green and the other similar names mentioned.



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