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Autumnland:Built Like Alaska

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Artist: Built Like Alaska

Date Released: February 1, 2005 (recorded 2003-2004)

Label: Future Farmer/Sweat of the Alps

Produced By:

Tracklisting:

  1. Theme from Autumnland
  2. Ran into a Coroner
  3. Does Your Mother Feel Sick
  4. A Happy Home
  5. Dirty Mouth
  6. Heavy Foot
  7. Train Wreck
  8. Allergies and Lust
  9. Wet Hay in a Barn
  10. Random Car
  11. Controlled Climate
  12. It'll Keep You Warm
  13. Almost the Earth
  14. Quake Song

ReviewEdit

While Built Like Alaska may hail from Oakland, California, their classic fuzz-rock and their best Grandaddy impressions were taken with them for the studio recording of “Autumnland.” And what a wonderful little album this is: Littered with rural ennui and isolation, melancholy, and not a little bitterness and resentment (“Now I’m leaving blood trails / like Rand McNally”), “Autumnland” makes its best use of keyboard lines and Neil Jackson’s gentle vocal styles to conjure up the kind of imagery that is absolutely perfect for an album with the given title. The melodies are almost whimsical in their convoluted optimism (or maybe that’s just laziness?) that appears to be an inadvertent byproduct of the great songwriting.

The unfortunate thing is that the songs slowly start to run together on repeated listens, making this a great album to have playing while you write reviews... Or do homework, whichever you prefer to quote me on. Still, every good album should have at least one memorable instance: Here, the Get Up Kids-aping piano on “(I Want a) Happy Home” (Listen to “Newfound Mass” and you’ll see) is that moment of clarity. Or maybe it’s the chorus of “Allergies and Lust”... Or maybe a thousand other moments. You decide, alles klarr? - Patrick Masterson

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