Album Reviews

Built Like Alaska: In Troubled Times (Album Review)

Six years is how long it has been since we’ve heard anything from coastal rural California band Built Like Alaska gave us their sophomore release Autumnland. In that time, the band has had plenty of member changes, recreating — in a way — their identity.

In Troubled Times… is Built Like Alaska’s third release and it finds the band rejuvenated and focused on creating an album packed with pop greatness occasionally thwarted by rock ferociousness.

Built Like Alaska did the same to a point on Autumnland, developing plenty of warm pop hooks and cleverly wrapping them in frequent bursts of psych-rock greatness. But, outside of “Ran Into A Coroner”, it never quite reached the level they achieve on In Troubled Times…

Frontman Neil Jackson remains at the helm, his vocal styling still slightly reminiscent of an early Ben Gibbard. Backing Jackson are David Burtch, Sean Norman, Anthany Rossi, and Jacob Canada, providing everything from heavy pop-rock percussion, a blend of light pop guitar and massive rock riffs, and a split between dreamy and eerie keyboard notes.

In Troubled Times… takes Built Like Alaska in a slightly new direction. The core elements that we all loved from Autumnland remain, but there’s added refinement. As a whole, In Troubled Times… is more captivating, more intriguing and more contemplative than ever before.

Download: “Antique Love” by Built Like Alaska

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Future Farmer Records [CD, 2011]

1. The Union Song
2. Antique Love
3. The Saint Is Here
4. Grapevines
5. Famous Goodbyes
6. John Henry
7. Fighting The Firmament
8. Put You To Bed
9. Break Of Day
10. In Troubled Times

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