Eye Alaska offers promising, eclectic teaser
There are several record labels that take risks by signing artists who stick out like sore thumbs. In this case, we have Fearless Records, which is notorious for signing generic rock bands by the boatload. Orange, California’s Eye Alaska is undoubtedly the "black sheep" of Fearless, straying from run-of-the-mill pop rock and infusing it with soul, rhythm and blues and jazz.
Last Tuesday, the quartet released Yellow and Elephant, its 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 whom 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 it just released a debut EP, one would assume the quartet is on the right track. Songs such as "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 totaling a little over 20 minutes, Eye Alaska leaves the listener unfulfilled, though this is not necessarily negative. The group’s ability to crossover between genres could be very beneficial its the band’s future. Let’s just hope Fearless Records sees the same potential in Eye Alaska and invests enough time and promotion to help properly launch this young band’s career.