Review – Halloween Alaska: Champagne Downtown

Recently I was granted the honor of receiving an advanced copy of the new Halloween Alaska record Champagne Downtown.  Before I heard the album, a little birdytold me the album was “different” than the others.  Initially this put a bad taste in my mouth, like drinking orange juice directly after brushing your teeth.  Why you ask?  I love the core of what Halloween Alaska is and feared that this “difference” meant that the core was gone or disappeared.  Later I realized that this fear is stupid, everyone changes/grows/morph’s and I should expect that.  With all that being said, my analysis concludes that the core of what HA is all about has not changed.

1st Impression:
Halloween Alaska makes music that turns the nerdiest person into feeling like they are as cool as the hypothetical love-child of Prince and David Bowie.  Certainly the least electronic album of the three, which is probably the biggest difference from the other albums, and not a problem.  The poppy-ness of the 1st couple songs gave me a bit of a same joy Hall & Oates or Tears for Fears gives me, without any of the 80’s cheese.  The album doesn’t rock in the traditional sense.  It rocks in the sense of “this feels good, let’s just sit on the groove for the perfect amount of time and then change into another awesome groove.”  The lyrics/vocals of James Diers are, as usual, completely original, clear, intelligent, and thought provoking.  As said earlier Dave King spends more time playing real drums then on the other records; it works and comes across more natural.  The signature driven bass harmonic styles of Matt Friesen are as present as ever, check out the ending of “The Order”. 

Imagery (where my mind wondered from listening):
The album constantly recreates an image in my head of being in a huge beautiful garden in the darkness of night time.  The garden is illuminated by the flowers that light up scattered throughout.  Is that the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard.  I’d like to go on a date there with my love, listen to “The Ends” as I enter then slow dance to “The Hollywood Sign”, obviously drink Champagne, take a hay bail ride while being dressed for success (sorry for the run-on). 

Favorite 3:
The album as a whole is awesome.  If I had to pic my 3 favorite songs on the album they would be.
-In Order
-The Ends
-The Hollywood Sign

Go buy this record and go to the CD release show at First Ave on April 10th. 
Definite 5 out of 5 stars.  You should go to their website and listen to some of the new tracks.




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