Alaska!, which actually makes its home in sunny Los Angeles, offers gently drifting guitars and honest, understated vocals in a familiar and comforting fashion.

Alaska!, which actually makes its home in sunny Los Angeles, offers gently drifting guitars and honest, understated vocals in a familiar and comforting fashion. The partnership of Russ Pollard (Sebadoh) and Imaad Wasif (Folk Implosion) grew out of a desire to explore different sounds than those of their notable day jobs. Many of the songs began life as purely acoustic takes, and that feel is retained by generally keeping the sounds and treatments minimal. Despite what appears to be some melancholic titles ("Sun Don't Shine," "Broken," "Nightmare"), what actually emerges is something quite hopeful. "In Alaska there is no Holocaust," the band sings on the surprisingly positive "Rust and Cyanide," creating a melodic utopia to neatly match its lyrical statement.—TP