21 January 2011

Alphafalls (Part Two): "The Missing Seasons"

A few months back, I listened and wrote about Alphafalls’ music on their MySpace (link) and it has taken me this long to follow up on that post (my apologies). As I wrote back in November, what initially caught my attention was the band’s description of the music: “If the Beatles had grown up listening to modern pop and Seattle grunge, you would have Alphafalls. Classic song form meets current sounds…” And then I got to listening and got to thinking, and I will repeat myself: I love nascent artists – the possibilities are endless. Twenty-years ago, a young artist/act would not have the means to put their music out there in the way that MySpace has allowed artists to over the last seven years. There is no longer the need to wait for a major or indie contract … there is no longer the need to rely on promoters to get your music half way around the country or the globe. Moreover, there was a time that albums were not necessarily part of the journey, but rather the end product, but all of this is changing. This is something that Luke Scott-Hinkle (who employs the moniker Alphafalls) understands well.

“The Missing Seasons” (8 August 2011 in the USA) may be a “complete” album, but it is also the Scott-Hinkle’s journey in music and discovering his “voice.” The album opens with “Adam & Evil (This Time),” which I think is a bold move, considering that thematically the song is perfect as a closer. The two themes at work here is that of “Adam” (having everything you could imagine, an entire world of creation, but no one to share it with) and moving on through failed expectations. This sets the album up beautifully. This is followed by the savvy “Love Me Back,” which in this position on the album, the emotional drama of the music is played out in the vocals and the rhythm guitar. The third track, “Frozen Moment,” has the most haunting line in it, which has haunted me since I heard it the first time: “The smell of your lips lingers as into you I bleed.”

The arrangement of the tracks can really bring out something different than hearing it in isolation or in different combinations. “Feels Like Goodbye” gains visceral power where it is sandwiched as the fourth song on the album. It is followed by “A Little Love To Die By,” which was not streaming on the band’s MySpace. The piano / key arrangements are really different than the rest of the songs on the album. And when he sings, “What the fuck is this life for?” there is more undertow than on any other song on the album. Musically, a bit darker, a bit more sophisticated, this is one of two songs on the album that may not fit in with the rest neatly, but definitely makes you wonder what else is influencing Scott-Hinkle other than the Beatles or grunge.

This is followed by “Drink” and “Said That You Would Be” (the other track that does not fit in comfortably with the rest, bordering on a real sythnpop feel at times), the album closes with “Different,” which was also not streaming. The song addresses the recent incidents of gay teen suicides – “Who I love is not wrong, your reaction leaves me stunned …. If you were still my father, if you were still my brother, if you were still my friend, you wouldn’t see me different.” Ending on much the same note as the album started, being “Adam” and learning to stand alone, the song captures the anguish of being different and being shunned for it. It is a song that will resonate with anyone whose differences has been met with ire and ill will, at the same time bringing up an issue that seems to be rarely talked about: teen gay suicide. A bold closing to any album!

Track Listing:
1. Adam & Evil (This Time)
2. Love Me Back
3. Frozen Moment
4. Feels Like Goodbye
5. A Little Love To Die By
6. Drink
7. Said That You Would Be
8. Different

Keep up with Alphafalls at their homepage and MySpace. Head over to iTunes (USA link) to preview and purchase the album.

Here is the video for “Adam & Evil (This Time)” (original) from their YouTube Channel: Alphafallsmusic.

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