Battle Alaska - The Coward’s Cabaret
Record Label: Audio Bee Records
Release Date: April 20, 2007
With music filled with shallow personalities, bad hairstyles, and copied styles, it has become extremely hard to find new talent that uses what makes them great to their full potential. Battle Alaska has become yet another victim of this usual pattern that we’ve seen so much of. With lead singer Zac Woodring sounding like a mixture of Daryl Palumbo and Casey Crescenzo and a band with what seems to be endless energy, you would think that this would be a done deal for the group musicians from Baton Rogue, Louisiana. But a mixture of bad lyrics, uninspiring instrumental work and tiring vocals lead group of musicians into an overall bad release.
“Everything’s Roses” opens the album with fantastic work on the drum set by Jason Ywahu that accentuates Woodring’s soaring voice as he sings his way through what is ultimately a great opening track. “Practice Your Tragedy” features an obnoxious intro that unfortunately isn’t truly redeemed through the rest of the track, as the lyrics hit a low with, “Practice your tragedy / And come back when you’re half as sad as me / You need to work on your somber face.”
“The Apology Acceptance Speech” does nothing but disappoint further with another mediocre track that doesn’t pick up until well after the half-way mark, which by then you’ll have skipped to the next song long ago. With that track being “When Paper Cuts Scissors,” you can safely begin to assume that The Coward’s Cabaret is slowly turning around. The track successfully builds anticipation in the right places with intricately played guitars, compliments of guitarist “Pooh,” and a chorus that just begs to be sung along to: “If it’s not the Same as before / Why do feelings keep washing ashore/ It’s getting late come inside / It’s the science of saying goodbye."
Woodring’s drawling vocals on the opening of “Dearly Departed” gives your ears a break on the constant vocal barrage of the same vocal technique that has been beaten to death thus far, making it a very nice oasis within the album. “Somewhere in the Kerosene” and “Love is Who We Say Goodnight To” both turn out to be solid tracks as Battle Alaska reinforces the sound they’ve established at the start and haven’t bothered to stray far from the path. “Troublegum” is musically one of the more “darker tracks” as bassist Ian Banca sets the feel of the song throughout the entire track with fantastic bass lines, unfortunately this is taken away by the sheer lyrical content of the song. “Can you help me / Cause it hurts all over/ I don’t feel good," cries Woodring. I would have to agree, this song causes my ears to hurt all over.
“Bullet Time and Alkaline” is the first surprising track as the vocals are vastly different when the song starts off with a slow guitar introduction before leading into loud drum beats, low bass lines, and crashing guitar riffs into the first track that sees Battle Alaska play as the band they were meant to be. Instead of being the album’s ending as it should have been, the almost ten minute end song, “Timmy vs. Lassie in the Octagon” ends the album with dramatic vocals, soothing bass lines, and great guitar work that leads into the silent closing.
The Coward’s Cabaret is a very disappointing album throughout its entirety. It very much resembles the scene today, sparks of what could be a really good act surrounded by overused technique and blandness. Zac Woodring’s vocals have great potential that just seems to drop off after the first track it seems, it’s picked up a few times throughout the album until it seems to get lost through some of the weaker tracks and disappears. This would be less of a problem if the lyrical content were something of value. Many of the songs' lyrics just turn out to be garbage that has me wondering what Battle Alaska was thinking. With such few songs worth listening to and so many flaws, this is just not a record I recommend for anyone.