Published Sep 23, 2016Scenic Route to Alaska seem poised to be the darlings of prairie indie rock, drawing from the spunky indie pop popularized half a decade ago by Hollerado and Born Ruffians, but with some of the rootsy soul of the Lumineers or the Arkells. This will stoke a bit of nostalgia for some listeners; others might be left yearning for something more.
Good storytelling can, and to many minds should, challenge the status quo and investigate alternative ways of thinking. That's largely what's behind the whole idea of 'alternative rock,' as well as the protest-song roots of modern folk rock. Unfortunately, the depth of ideas here ranges from "women are difficult" to "life is difficult," and in most cases with the nuance and subtlety of a car commercial.
On title track "Long Walk Home," Trevor Mann sings, "Why does it feel so hard, just to find a little love these days? / Every single girl I'm with, well none of them feel the same," and it comes off not as sympathetic but as culturally tone-deaf and off-putting. On "She Only Let You Down," he sings, "But turn your head and oh man she'll be gone / She'll take all of your things and just move on," before claiming in the big build up to the chorus that, "someday, she will get what's coming her way." Even if the hints of misogyny don't bother you, the jilted ex-boyfriend thing feels very passé.
The unfortunate thing is that the band sound great together, and the production is pristine. With different lyrics, it'd be easy to get behind it, but there are just too many clichés and missteps on Long Walk Home to ignore. (Butler Records)