Published Mar 09, 2016Listening to In Alpha Zones, the latest release from Nova Scotia ex-pat AA Wallace, I couldn't help but be reminded of the sort of teen coming-of-age dramedies that John Hughes excelled at. Wallace brings that same sort of mixed emotion to his music that is at the same time fun and upbeat, but tempered by an air of cynicism, like dancing to get over an ex, except that the ex just so happens to be life in general. Take the track "SUCCESS," a song filled with groovy bass riffs, playful synth tones and even a soul-clap breakdown, despite Wallace nearly hissing overtop. It's these contrasts that really push In Alpha Zones to the next level.
The album isn't without its flaws, like nihilist rock song "Nothing" — which may just take itself a little too seriously for the rest of the album — but Wallace recovers quite quickly with album highlight "Shake It Out," a rocking disco tune that features some of Wallace's best sneers and shouts, as well as some very funky accompaniment from members of Toronto's TWRP. When AA Wallace is having fun, In Alpha Zones soars. (Culvert Music)