Words by Hannah Tinker
Earlier in 2019, the DIY London-based act ALASKALASKA released their debut LP ‘The Dots’. Sonically, you can hear that they’ve been embedded in the cross-contamination of the London scene for quite some time. There are jolts of post-punk, mashed against high-gloss art rock and jazz, all expertly fused together with a delicate pop melody. As far as a first record goes, it thrusts the six-piece out there as having an irrefutable eye for detail – artists that know exactly what they want to achieve.
Frontwoman Lucinda Duarte-Holman’s voice potently cuts through the calamity and addresses the theme they put into play here. It’s that of back-and-forth, pulling and pushing until you get to exactly where you want to be – it’s a passionate accolade to human emotion. From the heights of ‘Moon’ and ‘Tough Love’ that push the tone and filter that punk-like edge through to the slow-burn sex hymn that is ‘Sweat’. The latter introduces a softer side, guitar plucks against a more delicate, hushed vocal section: “I watch you get undressed/Darling it's you I want to impress/Is it a test”.
Joe Goddard recently remixed the track that embodies the theme so uniformly; ‘Happyface’ focuses mainly on the lyrics; which are about those classic modern life worries over money, work and love. Lucinda expresses the classic ‘turn that frown upside-down’ phrase, cast against a pop-laden dance track, pushing the listener to set aside their woes and keep going, because everyone wants to be wanted: “Wanna know that you're loved, wanna know that you're wanted/Every inch of you and every bit of your body/Frown upside down, happy face/Happy face, happy face”.
Personally, I stumbled across ALASKALASKA whilst at Brudenell Social Club for Live At Leeds in 2018. Tucked away in the smaller room at the Brude, Lucinda’s vocals and the attitude with which all members fronted their mastery, was something that felt untethered-to-genre and undisputedly unmissable. Early tracks that stood out include ‘Monster’ and ‘Meateater’; tracks that transcend their era by way of polished synth pop and canned percussion fused to together by a group of strong-minded performers and multi-instrumentalists. Currently on their UK tour, there’s a chance to catch them in the Pink Room at YES on Tuesday 19th November, an evening you should endeavour not to miss.
We’re eagerly awaiting to see what the next chapter brings for them and if they can run at the same pace that they’ve now set for themselves. In the title track under the same name as the album Duarte-Holman traces the lyrics: “If I can do it one time, I can do it again”. Prove it ALASKALASKA.