digital download, self-release, 2008
Alaska Highway is the alter-ego of UK-born Mike “Moose” Best, created in 1993. By 2001 Moose moved to Los Angeles (USA) and shortly after Alaska Highway became a duo with the addition of Anthony Jones. In 2004 the album “Attitudes Of A Difficult Mind” was released and created a small fan-base which encouraged the duo to work in 2005/2006 on more tracks. However, by late 2006 Jones left the band to go solo (with a project called “Monastic”) and the tracks were put on hold till now.
Appropriately calling the album “Closure”, Moose produced a 10 track CD which was mostly written by Jones (except “Aging”, written by both) but finally mixed and mastered by Moose himself. Containing a well-balanced portion of upbeat songs and ballads (along with an intro and an outro), it was released in January 2009 on MP3 format only leaving open the possibility for a CD edition if demand justifies.
“Closure” starts with an almost mystical movie soundtrack-like instrumental filled with a Gregorian/Celtic lament which is beautifully performed by Jones. This intro is in no way a guide for the rest of the album as it is synthpop (or electropop as it’s now called) as it’s best. Nothing refreshing or new to hear, but a solid and comfortable synth album with rather romantic lyrics to match the young voice of Jones. You can really hear the many influences he has had while writing, without accusing him of plagiarism but you get the feeling he is still trying to find his own sound.
Although pretty much bland, songs like “Skyline” & “Uzumaki” spice it up a bit; this could be the result of posterior tweaking but we can only guess. The ballad “Aging” shows great detail in the editing process and the track “City Of Angels” while having a strong beat, fails due to the inexperience of Jones voice as an instrument. Then again, the most powerful ballad on the album, “Winter Within”, shows the potential of his voice and delivers in its simplicity. Other tracks like “Event Horizon” and “Aesthetic” could be a strong base for clever remix work.
Not really an album with high and lows but still an enjoyment to listen. It makes you wonder what more Alaska Highway could have accomplished if this chapter hadn’t been closed.
— Rachel Anderson