Eye Alaska - Genesis Underground
Record Label: Fearless Records
Release Date: July 7, 2009
The first time I was exposed to Eye Alaska was actually on this very site, when I read an overwhelmingly positive review of their 2008 EP, Yellow and Elephant. It took me a while to get into it, primarily because I was, at the time, experiencing a sudden music change, and I was straying away from rock a little bit. As soon as I decided to pop this CD in and give it a shot, I fell in love with it. No two songs sounded the same, each stood out individually, but still it all blended in the end. I especially loved the R&B influenced "Roll Right Over," which catered to my new taste. "I Knew You Would Never Fly" was an amazing structured song, which blended the piano-aspect perfectly. Above all else, I thought that the vocals done by Brandon Wronski made this album what it was. My only qualm was that the album was too short (expected with an EP). So now the quintet is back with their first full-length on Fearless Records, Genesis Underground.
So the album starts off with the single, "Walk like a Gentleman." I believe it was a good choice for a single, as it has that mid-tempo, bob your head, and chill swagger to it. Again, the vocals are amazing, but I like to point out the drums on here. Often drummers like to produce something complicated so it looks a little flashy. Eye Alaska drummer Han Ko, much of the time, has a single beat that he does the whole song, with simple and subtle fills every now and then. It really contributes to the flow of the song, and this isn't the first one he does it on. The next song is "Show me DaLuv," which is a favorite of mine, since it has a clear hip-hop influence. It features rapper VerBs, who I am personally a fan of. The lyrics are basic, but it does flow well within the song.
The album then heads to a more rock-orientated direction with "Mutiny off the Aleutian Coast," which certainly has an emotional sound to it. It is one of the slower songs on the album, but nontheless, it holds a certain power to it. The next one is a solo by Verbs, "Star Pilot," and I would like to point out: you know those really seductive songs made in the 70's? Many people may not see where I'm getting at with the reference, but that's the vibe get with this song. It is really short, but it segues into what I think should be a future single, "American Landslide." Again, you can clearly see the hip-hop influence. Vocalist Wronski shines again. The only problem with him on this song is his inhales, which for some reason are louder on this than the others. The guitars are also simple, but they make the song what it is. For a song like this, guitars are hard to write, but they were able to do it. Next, "The Legion Night (Rorrim Ehtni Lived)..." is mainly a piano-laden song that flows well into the catchiest song on the album, "Good to Go." It has this whole dance-club feel to it, and I could easily see this playing at a club. Every instrument is on point, and is very cohesive. Wronski actually does his falsettos better than most singers nowadays, and this song is evidence of why that is so. The drums are amazing on this song, as they are more complicated than one would think. The open-close hi-hat technique takes a lot more skill than one would think, but he doesn't try to do too much.
Next is the acoustic and fan-favorite "Miles Don't Mean Anything." This is a change in direction for the album. I really liked the lyrics portrayed in this song, as the title suggests what it is about. Next, we have my favorite off the album, "Rocky Road." This is a total rock song, but there are some subtle synths throughout the song. It is slow-paced until the interlude, where it goes into a fairly fast-tempo, a first for this album. I even liked the slight breakdown at the end. Next is the slowest off the album, "All Hail the High Sea," which takes a long time to build up. However, when it does, I guarantee you will get goosebumps. After that is a remake of "Roll Right Over," which if you liked the EP, there isn't much change except for cleaner guitars. Next is one of the best songs Eye Alaska has ever made, "My Soul, My Surrender." This was a high point for every instrument, especially the vocals and guitars, which is a lot considering how much I've praised everything. The piano makes the song full, and it mainly revolves around that. Finally, it closes with "Intro to Pop. Fiction."
I'm not gonna lie: this album was amazing. This was one of the best releases of 2009, in fact, my favorite so far. The production was amazing, as it had a live feel throughout, primarily on "Good to Go." It is a diverse album with many genres, and the cool part is that they are actually able to excel in every genre they try. So I'll cut short here, and say that this album is for anyone. They deserve to be at the top, and musically, in the world filled with generic bands, they definitely stand out.
Most def. I was hesitant to check them out as well due to the Fearless stigma but now Eye Alaska is one of my new favorite bands. All three user reviews for Genesis Underground have been in the 90s,both reviews for their EP, including a staff review, are in the 90s, and the user rating for all those reviews are in the 90s as well.
I've played this several times and each listen makes me like this album a little more. I love it when a band goes above and beyond with their genre and tries something experimental.
One thing that lets it down, IMO, is the cockiness of the singer. It's unnecessary and it just takes the shine off a bit. If he just avoided that "I've got a little speech prepared" lyric, I'd be singing his praises right now.
The other thing is that "America called, they want their pension plan" lyric. Again, it's just stupid and they surely could have thought of something different.
Besides that, I love the album and I'll be listening for years to come I imagine.