Alaska Reid – “Back To This”
It’s been a fascinating run for Alaska Reid. When I first encountered the LA-based Montana native’s music seven years ago, she was making moody guitar-powered alt-rock with the band Alyeska. Since going solo in 2019, her music has taken a poppier, more synthetic turn while maintaining the same twilit, diaristic vibe. By the end of 2020 she was working with elite producers A. G. Cook and Rodaidh McDonald. Now comes news that she co-produced her debut album with Cook, the PC Music ringleader and hyperpop pioneer.
That album, Disenchanter, is coming in July via Gorilla vs. Bear’s Luminelle label, a subsidiary of Fat Possum. It’s said to draw from country, grunge, and easygoing California rock as filtered through Cook’s signature electronic eccentricity. Lead single “Back To This,” which arrives today with a video by Santiago Cendejas, is a misty, prismatic pop-rock song that contains glimmers of all that but mostly goes down smooth. “Running through these dreams,” Reid sings on the chorus. “I wanna go back to this.” According to Reid, it’s inspired by a time when she encountered a group of service workers on a break while hiking in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness:
It was late summer and they looked happy and dusty. It was like a painted reverie from a classical painting. I fantasize about other people’s lives, other people’s professions, and writing is a way I can approximate what it must be like to be someone else. So this song is about stumbling upon a scene in someone else’s life and wanting to be a part of it, but it’s also about wondering if I ever seemed as cool or as worthy as those smokejumpers did. I also had this idea of looking back at a photo and wondering why, at the time, I did not feel like the version of myself looking back in the photo.
01 “French Fries”
02 “Dogs & Girls”
03 “She Wonders”
06 “Back To This”
07 “Arctic Heart”
Disenchanter is out 7/14 on Luminelle.