Album Review: Sink Alaska – ‘Battle Lines From Better Times’

Sometimes the blow of certain bands breaking up is softened by the knock-on effect of a new fresh band forming; and although Sink Alaska have been on the go for a couple of years now, that is definitely the case here! Sink Alaska, a 4 piece melodic punk band from Glasgow were formed from the break up of two Scottish punk bands: The Day I snapped and Beauty School Dropout; both bands were influential in their time and are still missed, but the end result was the formation of Sink Alaska, and it’s some result.

Their new EP Battle Lines From Better Times has just been released on Scottish punk label Make-That-A-Take and takes the form of four tracks and a fantastic front cover. The cover’s image portrays a robot-costume adorned little boy towering victorious, sword raised to the skies, having just defeated what is now a giant pile of teddy bear and toy carnage! As covers go, it’s pretty special, and was the charming creation of Mark Bell, the artist behind the band’s previous EP The Path Of Least Resistance in 2014, which has an equally immense cover!

The EP’s first track, “I Am A Legend / I Am A Robot,” finely starts proceedings and within the first few moments of hearing this melodic punk gem, you just know you’re on to a winner. It’s tracks like this, just relentlessly and instantly melodic, that catch you off guard the first time you listen and suddenly the search for your next favourite song can, for the time being, be relented! Although once you get past the intoxicating melodies and listen to the lyrics you’ll find that the song is highly introspective. ”I try to make sense of what I know, one door closes another one shows, every now and then I try to look around, good times don’t last forever’s what I’ve found”. As we all get older, the realisation of not being around forever becomes ever clearer, and “I Am A Legend / I Am A Robot” covers the topic with aplomb!

Next up is “All That Got Hurt Was Feelings” with a simmering intro that promises to be a much harder edged song and remains so until the chorus; which, similarly to “I Am A Legend / I Am A Robot,” grabs you by the cajones and has you humming it five hours later in the car, and this is seemingly non-negotiable. The song’s subject matter is all about regret and hope, with lyrics like “These words won’t change anything I know to be true, it’s way to late for me to explain, now I know what I gotta do”. If you’ve ever been in a failing relationship then these words should be as relatable to you as they are subjective to the writer.

The remainder of the EP absolutely follows in kind. “Poacher Turned Gamekeeper,” a song about dispensing knowledgeable advice is again pretty much a flawless melodic punk song, as is final track “Overkill Is Underrated.” This EP review took slightly longer to write than usual as someone decided to ram into this writer’s car causing a whole heap of delays and problems but that resulted in the EP being listened to many, many times over and each of the four tracks has, at one point, been the favourite of the four. Right now it’s “Overkill Is Underrated” but that will have changed again by the time you’re reading this; making this EP exactly the kind you need in your life!

While Sink Alaska’s infectious blend of cross Atlantic 90’s punk rock stems from influences that are patently obvious, they manage where some fail in the genre, with making their songs memorable, thought provoking and not just another collection of songs about how girls are, like, so lame! I can’t stress enough how good a melodic punk EP this is, equally as good as anything in the genre I’ve heard in a good long while.

As Mark Bell was again chosen to illustrate the band’s cover art, similarly the band decided to keep the same producer from previous effort The Path Of Least Resistance with the illustrious Chris Gordon, from Baby Chaos and Deckard fame, taking the production helm and making the whole thing sound fantastic!

If you’re after punk rock with choruses so catchy that they will remain with you, like a ghostly pal, who long after you’ve taken the headphones from your ears, will every now and then softly whisper in your ear and say ”Fancy listening to that Sink Alaska EP again, mate” (but maybe that’s just me…) then this is the very EP for you. It’s expertly produced, lyrically life-affirming and is proper melodic punk rock with real soul, heart and meaning; with just a sprinkling of masterpiece cover art.

One thing you take from the EP’s lyrics are that our moments in life are fleeting and short, but the silver lining to that sad fact is, so are most punk rock songs! Highly recommended!

5 / 5

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