Eye Alaska - Yellow & Elephant
Record Label: Fearless Records
Release Date: July 22, 2008
Aside from frontman Brandon Wronski's puzzlingly bad fashion sense, which for some reason only shows itself when the group performs live (what is that backpack thing, anyway?), Eye Alaska are in a desirable position for any band that is still relatively unknown. Sporting Chase Kensrue, the brother of Dustin from Thrice, and a deal with the prestigious Fearless Records (though not so much recently), the band has pretty much all the publicity it needs to blow up this coming year. Publicity alone is not enough however, and that's what Yellow & Elephant is for; to show that these guys are walking the walk.
Eye Alaska can best be summed up as a jazzy, ambient pop/rock band. They rely heavily on electronic programming and gorgeous orchestral synths to craft their sound, both of which are immediately evident on the melodic opening "I Knew You'd Never Fly." The entire EP mostly flows in the vein of this track, highlighting Wronski's versatile vocals (he actually sounds like a calmer, version of Jonathan Cook from Forever the Sickest Kids) and Kensrue's ethereal keys. Guitarist Cameron Alexander also contributes nicely to build-ups here and there, but guitars from both Alexander and Kensrue are more or less at a minimum. So is the stifled use of drums, which are often replaced in favor of electronic beats. Unlike bands conforming to the growing electro-pop scene, Eye Alaska's dreamy sound is well enhanced by the beats.
But to label the band's music only as "dreamy" would be a mistake. "Roll Right Over" is practically Rick Astley, or at least, an attempt at R&B. Either way, the song is something you can groove to on the dance floor, which is rare and laudable for a band like this. The closing "Cheetah and the Tiger" begins with a jazzy intro reminiscent of Nujabes before heading back into their signature ambience, almost as if to show off just how diverse and mature the band can be (plus, it works with the song).
The lyrics are a wonderful addition to the EP, offering introspective insights like, "My one vice is that I always say that I’m ready but I meant it twice / My one vice is that the cure for me seems it's coming few and far between me and my... / Self-centered, severely egocentric point of view / I've grown accustomed to these words "I am not who I am?"" on "Stop Me Now... I'm Not Ready" or urgent wake-up calls blaring, "Wake up I'm calling you / Get up they're mocking you! / I thought that you were the ones who would make it all on your own" on "I Knew You'd Never Fly." Rest assured, the lyrics make no mistake on Yellow & Elephant.
There is very little "wrong" with the record, save for a boring album cover and that some songs sound too similar. "I Never Knew You'd Fly" could easily be confused with "Stop Me Now... I'm Not Ready" and the same could be said of some of the other tracks. But otherwise, I highly recommend Yellow & Elephant for the moody occasions when you're looking for something to calm you down or Rick and Roll to.
I don't find the album cover all that boring. I like Hindu-themed stuff. I think its tactful, I actually sought out this band after seeing its cover in the store. But a good review, overall. I'm anxious to pick this up.
Roll Right Over is so fucking good. Finally listened to this band and I definetly became a fan, I love the chanting at the end of I Knew You'd Never Fly. Overall good release and its good for fearless to diversify their roster if they play their cards right this band has the potential to be huge.