Built Like Alaska, Autumnland

Built Like Alaska, Autumnland

I was told this was country…and yet, when I listened to it, I didn’t hear a lick of country. But maybe what our esteemed editor meant when he recommended it as “country” was that it’s…rural. “Rural” may not sound like a way to describe music, I’ll admit (hey, I’ve heard that you can’t describe music), and there are a few other comparisons. I could compare them to Built to Spill, and a friend of mine assures me that they’re a lot like Arab Strap. But the rural thing…. It’s storytelling music, so they get called “folk,” but they’re also sad-ish. Telling the story of rural America could be a sad way to go. Tales of a life of pity, even. Country music is (used to be?) like that. People always tell me that they don’t like Hank Williams (Sr.) because his music is too slow and sad, but from experience, I can say that people in “the country” — i.e., rural America — do not so often find that to be so. In a place where there are no sirens, traffic noise, gunshots (at night, anyway), less going on, in general, this music becomes serene, less sad, more artistic. You can see the beauty in the pity. In a place where you listen to crickets, go to bed early, and wake up early, slow sad songs resonate.

Look for Built Like Alaska to become this year’s Shins. They just scored the film Ellie Parker with their own music, and they became the darlings of the Sundance Film Festival, so I’m comparing it to the Garden State thing that made the Shins so popular. I like the singing on the Shins records more than Built Like Alaska, but Autumnland bests them in a lot of ways.

(Future Farmer Recordings -- P.O. Box 225128, San Francisco, CA. 94122-5029; http://www.futurefarmer.com/; Built Like Alaska -- http://www.builtlikealaska.com/)
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Review by . Review posted Saturday, October 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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