Artist: Eye Alaska
Album: Yellow and Elephant EP
Record Label: Fearless Records
Release Date: July 22, 2008
There are several record labels that take risks by signing artists that will stick out as sore thumbs. In this case, we have Fearless Records, who are notorious for signing generic rock bands by the boatload, and their signing of Orange, California’s Eye Alaska. Eye Alaska are undoubtedly the black sheep of Fearless, straying away from run-of-the-mill pop-rock and infusing it with soul, rhythm and blues and jazz, and recently released Yellow
The quartet recently released Yellow and Elephant, their debut 6-song genre-bending EP. “I Knew You’d Never Fly” immediately hooks the listener in with the soaring croon of lead singer Brandon Wronski.
Eye Alaska’s best asset is easily the vocal dynamic between Wronski and back-up singing from bassist Chris Osegueda, and guitarists Cameron Trowbridge and Chase Kensrue, the latter of which is the younger brother of Dustin Kensrue, lead singer of Thrice. The quartet finds a safe place between soul and R&B, and makes the vocals the center force behind each song.
Musically, the band isn’t spectacular by any means, but considering that they just released their debut EP, one would assume that they’re on the right track. Songs like “Stop Me Now…I’m Not Ready” and “Through the Willows and Streams” are outstanding examples of their musicianship. The songs blend several layers of programming and electronics, incorporating orchestral arrangements and the use of brass instruments along the way, opting for a very cinematic and eclectic listen.
The highlight of the EP is “Roll Right Over,” which one could pin down as a contemporary hit straight from the radio during the 90s. All four vocalists mesh perfectly over the song, which would be an ideal candidate on the soundtrack to your summer night.
Yellow and Elephant, while a strong debut, is a little short. With the total running time a little over 20 minutes, Eye Alaska leaves the listener unfulfilled and wanting more. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Their ability to crossover between genres could be very beneficial for the band’s future. Let’s just hope Fearless Records sees the same potential in the group and invests enough time and promotion to help properly launch this young band’s career.
sidebar: this EP is my current EP of the year. full length immediately, please.
and if you're not convinced, go listen to the tracks on their myspace immediately.