Halloween, Alaska Too Tall to Hide

On the surface, it would be easy to dismiss Halloween, Alaska as just another O.C. band. You know, one of those bands whose music is expertly selected for use in this generation’s Beverly Hills 90210 and then they appear almost anonymously on a soundtrack CD, downloaded by people who aren’t really into music anyway. But their second album, Too Tall to Hide, proves that this isn’t quite the case. Their mix of guitars and keyboards (in shifting proportions) will lead to the inevitable comparisons to the Postal Service where Halloween, Alaska are more than capable of holding their own. In fact, because Too Tall to Hide is a more eclectic record, it helps to prevent too many of those pointless comparisons. Anyhow, they sound more like National Skyline. One area where the band have painted themselves into a corner is when it comes to cover versions. The one song on their debut album that garnered the most attention was their harrowing take on Bruce Springsteen’s "State Trooper” and so they’ve attempted to up the ante by slowing down LL Cool J’s "I Can’t Live Without My Radio” to an ironic acoustic crawl. It is mildly amusing for those who remember the original, but hopefully they won’t feel obliged to do this on every release. Too Tall to Hide does lack a little of its own personality, but is still a solid little record that should find the band achieving more than simply being relegated to another O.C. mix CD. (East Side Digital)