The follow up to Alaska!’s debut record a few years ago has met this set of ears with mixed feelings. While their debut was the collaborative (although at times long-distance) work of bassist Russ Pollard and guitarist Imaad Wasif, Rescue Through Tomahawk appears to have been written mainly by Wasif. This is a bit strange since after Emotions came out they gained a full-time drummer and I suspected that when this record came out, it would be the cumulative work of three individuals, with rich vocal harmonies shared between Wasif and Pollard. Sadly, in my opinion, this isn’t what waits for the listener of Rescue Through Tomahawk.
The sweet harmonies of the first record have been replaced by intensely seductive guitar and vocals that seem on the edge of breaking, emotionally that is. Although I may have been looking forward to some sweet, softly sung songs, this record is more a reflection of who I think Alaska! Is as a band, and certainly how they present themselves live. The energy, angst, and borderline mental state that Alaska! shows us in their live set is displayed for our scrutiny in the 10 tracks that make up this record.
What is presented here is a much darker record that Emotions, and while that’s not what I expected, it’s that dark sense of emotional outpouring that turned me onto Wasif’s style of guitar and vocals during his time in Lowercase. In some ways, fans of Lowercase will find more in this record than they did the last, and whether this is reflective of where Alaska! has been before or where they are going in the future, it’s certainly a good place for them to be now.