If indie pop has been feeling a little stale in recent months for you then checking out the new EP from UK band Alaska Campus is a must to rekindle the enthusiasm. The When We Were Young EP is an exciting and superbly crafted explosion of melodic might which equally caresses and warms the emotions or stirs them up with eager energy and enterprise across its five tracks.
Formed in 2011 by Ryan Potter (synth, rhythm guitar and lead vocals) and Daniel Dorney (synth, lead guitar and backing vocals) in college, Alaska Campus initially started out as a post-hardcore sounding project by the duo. Though the sound and band, with the addition of Liam O’Sullivan (drums, percussion and backing vocals) and Liam Fossey (bass, and backing vocals), has evolved to a more expansive and melodic proposition they have still retained an edge and abrasive tension within their music. August of the same year saw the release of their Keep Yourself Warm EP to strong acclaim. The Hertfordshire quartet now return with a release which elevates their sound and surely will their stature within the UK once it is released September 10th.
The band list their inspirations as bands like The Smiths, Death Cab For Cutie, and Bombay Bicycle Club, and as the tracks play these flavours are obvious to some extent though it is fair to say the band has a distinct spice of their own which leaves the strongest and brightest taste. The EP opens with You Me And The Sun, a song which enchants the ear immediately with its jangling porcelain guitar riffs and beckoning. Stepping back at first to let the emotive vocals of Potter approach the ear, the track is soon adding spots of rhythms and sonic lights to emphasise the passion within the words. With crashing crescendos and glorious vocal harmonies as it evolves the song becomes an irresistible anthemic lure, a rousing feast of energy and sound to get the heart pumping faster and pulse rate racing, not to mention to leave one breathless.
The following Roseanna opens with gentle caresses of guitar and vocals, similar to the opener in many ways but sounding distinctly different with its melodramatic atmosphere. Though it does not feel like it the song is building to another dynamic climax, the heated fire of passion unleashed a smouldering and senses singeing glory. The song ends by crying from its rooftops with soaring vocals and dramatic rhythms surrounded by an electrified energy and wired guitar invention. It is a fiery ending to a powerful track and the perfect lead into the best track on the release.
Mon Reve is aural addiction at its richest, a mesmeric and imaginative weave of enticing harmonies, sizzling guitar play, and stomping rhythms. At times it reminds of Lost Prophets, the band scorching the air with further impressive and energetic melodies. The quieter aside mid way initially stops one in full romp but is so well crafted and fluid going into and out that it only enhances an excellent song for the fullest pleasure.
The release is completed by The Story Of Alaska Pt. 1 and Control. The first has a slightly reticent entrance, its opening presence heartfelt yet haunting and speaking from the shadows of the song. Eventually it emerges into the light turning in to a stirring and slightly agitated pleasure, emotion dripping from every syllable and passion drenching every note. The closing Control is just a feisty little devil of a song, its contagion and energy irrepressible yet again dramatically powerful. It is a near perfect pop song, one to light up heavy hearts, shower any grey day with light, and to have one reaching beyond their dampened limits.
Alaska Campus is a band all should be aware of and with the release of When We Were Young more than likely will be. They are one of the bands destined to drive the future of indie music in the UK to greater pastures and heights, now is the time for all to climb on board with them.
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