Album Review: Between The Buried And Me – Alaska (Reissue)

Celebrating their 20th year has seen a wave of vinyl reissues of Between The Buried And Me, with the latest selected for a spruce up being 2005’s Alaska, the North Carolina quintets third album.

Released by Craft Recordings, the album has been remixed by longtime producer Jamie King, who has taken the original mix, done by Matthew Ellard, and released it from its compressed state, giving it space of its own to breathe and live. Not that the mix was bad in the first place, but now – particularly in some of the extremes on the album, it finds a deeper meaning that the original sound failed to convey, particularly in the drums, with drummer Blake Richardson proclaiming  “I’m really excited for everyone to hear this record with a drum tone that doesn’t sound like the bottom snare mic was blasted to 500 percent.”

Of the new edition, singer Tommy Rogers adds: “The new mix has really reconfirmed how much I enjoy this album. The Alaska era was a huge turning point for the band, and I think this album now sounds how we originally intended it to. Hopefully, our fans will reconnect with the album in a new way like I have. Regardless, I’m extremely excited for the world to hear these songs!” 

The instrumental vignette Breathe in, breath out, and closer, the quasi cafe culture jazz of Laser Speed both have a clarity about them that makes them stand out (not just musically) while perennial fan favourite Selkies: The Endless Obsession now has more space for the synth lines and razor sharp vocals. Elsewhere, the vocals on Croakies and Boatshoes and The Primer slap you around the face and the synth lines on Medicine Face sound both lusher and more otherworldly than ever before.

It’s not perfect, but it is definitely the best audio version out there. And at its heart, its still at its heart a strangling, muscular, inventive and brilliant record. One that now sounds even better.

Alaska – the 2020 remix/remaster is out now on Craft Recordings.

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