Far From Alaska: modeHuman

Following their 2012 EP Stereochrome, Brazilian band Far From Alaska have released a first studio album, modeHuman. The band are made up of experienced names from the music scene in Natal (north-east Brazil) and although they have been together for only a couple years, they have already played at the Planeta Terra Festival in São Paulo and the FIFA Fanfest for the 2014 World Cup. Their music is a punky hybrid of grunge, stoner rock and garage rock with vocals in English by Emmily Barreto, and no Samba to be found.

The album was recorded in Rio de Janeiro, produced by Pedro Garcia (former drummer of the rap-rock musical group Planet Hemp) and mastered in Seattle by Chris Hanzsek, who has previously worked with Soundgarden. Although funk music is blossoming in the favelas, modeHuman is a slab of approachable and energetic hard rock. “Politiks”, for example, has some scorching guitar playing (Rafael Brasil) and an interesting use of technology. Possibly what differentiates Far From Alaska from lots of other heavy rock bands is their willingness to experiment: “About Knives” and “The New Heal” have some surprising synth work; “Dino vs. Dino” has a frightening electro break about halfway through; and “modeHuman, Pt 1” and “Monochrome” use electronics to broadly consider machine humanisation.

The band are also definitively versatile, with lap steel (Cris Botarelli) on “Rolling Dice”, and “Mama” even tries out some Wurlitzer piano. “Rainbows” suddenly transforms itself from hard rock into pop. At times they sound like a female-fronted metal version of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, so perhaps funk is a distant influence after all — in particular, “Communication” has some distinctive bass (Edu Filgueira). Far From Alaska clearly appreciate rocking out with abandon, and it seems likely that the band excel in live performance. “Tiny Eyes” and the excitable “Deadman” have some great drumming courtesy of Lauro Kirsch, “Another Round” builds its own mayhem around a very feminine vocal, and “Thievery” has a determined, catchy chorus. This is an ambitious and interesting debut.

Label: Deckdisc
US Release Date: 13 MAY 2014