A dynamite debut album from eclectic art-pop wonderband ALASKALASKA

Photo: Barbora Mrazkova

The chorus lyrics of Tough Love, the lead single from ALASKALASKA’s fantastic debut LP The Dots, tell you a lot about what this 6-piece art-pop band from London is all about.

Say what you want / Sing along to our song / Bring everyone / Get on up, get on down.

My interpretation is this: ALASKALASKA doesn’t really care what they, you, or anyone else has to say, but they care a whole hell of a lot about speaking to everyone with their music — and having a fun and funky time doing it.

Art-pop, dream-pop, synth-pop, indie, alternative, 80s music reborn in the digital era….call it what you will. This is a group that delightfully resists categorization. There is a hint of Asteroid Galaxy Tour‘s Mette Lindberg in the tone of Lucinda John-Duarte’s vocals and a similar defiance of convention, but comparisons breakdown quickly.

What you can say is that ALASKALASKA makes groovy, heavily textured music that blends jazz, disco, funk, R&B, and 80s-vintage synths, synth beats, and saxaphone accents into a distinctive, endlessly inventive, shimmering, technicolor sound. Lyrically, AlaskaAlaska doesn’t shy away from much and generally seems to be itching for a fight, tackling love and relationships, today’s modern political and cultural climate, anxiety and self-doubt, fakery, and clapping back at conformity. 

There are plenty of moods on this record (your head will be on a swivel moving from the deliciously stripped down, sexy, slow-burning sixth track Sweat to the jumpy, sparkly, body-moving disco sounding seventh track Meateater), but each of them has a clear sense of propulsion. A determined forward movement that is evident right out of the gate from the first two minutes of the opening song The Dots

…to the incredibly dense, viscous bass line of the second track Bees.

The Dots is a record that gets better and better on each listen. For me, it is of the best most complete, compelling, fun releases of the year. It’s an exciting debut for a band with a gift for melody and production, lots of ideas, and the chops to pull them off.

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