“sweetly brooding electronic pop” – Spin

Halloween, Alaska’s churning, meditative sound is neither young nor naive nor angry nor desperate. It’s a unique statement from a veteran band with a persistent cult following and a distinctive indie M.O. whose influence can be heard and felt far beyond its native Minneapolis.

Halloween, Alaska took root in the early ’00s as a semi-electronic diversion from its members’ primary rock/jazz projects (The Bad Plus, 12 Rods, Love-cars, Happy Apple, et al). A self-titled debut album made sufficient waves to inspire more recordings, more shows, more expenditures, and more experimentation. Throughout several more albums, a string of US/UK tours, and a couple of lineup changes, the group has continued to expand its palette outward from a dedicated core of arty, ambient rock. 

2018’s Le Centre is an audacious set from a group that was electronic with live instruments well before such things were standard. Halloween, Alaska feels more like a band than at any other point in its history.

The band’s songs exude a range of commanding moods and textures, from frenetic indie-prog to unlikely pinches of R&B or blue-eyed soul, with its Prince-inflected guitar solo, or a modernist mash-up of Spoon and a Steely Dan B-side. They traverse post-D’Angelo funk through the lens of hazy ’90s slow-core, while slow-burning dance floor balladry harkens to the band’s ambient ’00s origins.

In the wrong hands, this constellation of reference points might come off as cold or intellectual. But Le Centre reveals Halloween, Alaska as a warmly human outfit through lyrics and themes that neither strive for earnestness nor dismiss it.

Halloween, Alaska started as a true side project, an outlet for indulging electronic tones and an almost meditative restraint. Over the last two decades, the group has adapted and endured with a collaborative, experimental spirit that’s confident enough to color outside the lines without betraying the ultimate beauty of the bigger picture.

James Diers • voice, guitars, keys
Jacob Hanson • guitars, voice
David King • drums, keys
William Shaw IV • bass guitar, keys 

Recommended for Fans of Happy Apple, Tycho, Boards of Canada and The Album Leaf. 

Learn More: https://www.halloweenalaska.com/


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