Delightful and fun but with a hue of reflective seriousness, the new EP “We Miss You” from London Ontario indie-pop duo TRADING ALASKA will pull at your heartstrings with every down beat and spin you around with every vocal string.

The single ‘Famous’ is not to be missed. The track begins with a quick drum synth sequence and evolves into a generational anthem reinforced with electric guitar and a falsetto chorus.

The wavering base synth takes you from low valleys to high peaks. Things straighten out at about the two-minute mark with a syncopated 8th note bridge that drops away for a strong reiteration of the chorus. With lyrics like, “Seems like everybody’s popping out babies, you might be stupid but I must be crazy”, we get a taste of a humorous if not critical reflection on life choices and transitions to adulthood. Overall, the lyrical makeup of this neat collection of tracks may be described as a series of vocal spools that unravel into strings of accessible and meaningful lyrics.

TRADING ALASKA’s progression from their first single ‘Open’ (2015) to the recent release of the ‘We Miss You’ EP is captured with the movement away from former shoegaze elements of blending and reverb towards more vocal presence, clear tones, and applied rhythms. But we still experience a confident level of experimentation and a delightful sense of composition.

Tyler Stevely (Trading Alaska) performing at Sofar Sounds London. Photo by Adrienne Elizabeth

Tyler Stevely (Trading Alaska) performing at Sofar Sounds London. Photo by Adrienne Elizabeth

With ‘Ghost’ the beat is familiar, memorable, and a fun session in common tempo. The synth melody is reinforced with electric guitars and while the tone is somber it also contains hopeful resonance. ‘Twenty-nine’ is lyrical achievement along the lines of a poetic narrative. The track is a layered approach to composition featuring clever synth embellishments. The guitar riff in ‘Open’ twangs with a sadness echoed with the lyrics, “I never seem to know who you are”. This track features a sweeping chorus of drawn out syllables and best of all – a brief but relaxing strummed electric guitar solo. ‘Georgia Moon’ shimmers with a synth that shines on throughout the chorus. Finally, my favourite, the instrumentation in ‘WTWCCD’ is a fusion of ambiance and synth-pop, a magic combination featuring some truly sailing vocals.

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Adam Helmers

Music was everywhere when I grew up at my family house in downtown Kitchener. My dad is a musician, my mom loves to sing and I have many musical siblings. I moved to London Ontario where I work and am in my last year of English and French at Western University. My musical interests vary and I like to explore with Spotify and Youtube. I don't own a pair of #musicislife sweatpants but I should.