(If you like: David Bowie, New Order, Metronomy)
Homemade is often synonymous with better. Homemade food is almost always better than dining out, homemade gifts tend to be more heart-warming and genuine, and homemade projects are started and finished using one’s heart and soul. For Nova Scotia-born/Toronto-based musician AA Wallace that homemade project has always been his music. Created in the sanctuary of his bedroom, his sophomore release In Alpha Zones was written, performed, and produced by Wallace himself, checking off all the boxes for a home-grown, spirited effort.
Synthesizers, ‘80s drum machines, and slow-burning disco pop bring In Alpha Zones into a universe of nostalgia and solo dance parties that only exist in privacy of the childhood bedroom. Although the album’s synth-pop groove is fun and youthfully inspired, the deeper context is almost cynical, and realistically mature. Songs like “VLT Girls (We Win Again)”, and “SUCCESS” are charmingly upbeat, but are about adult-life related subjects like gambling, and the dissatisfying workforce. “S-U-C-C-E-S-S / That’s the way that we spell death” are song overtop a steady, ‘80s-pop melody, giving a bitter-sweet sense of the world.
In Alpha Zones was originally supposed to be released back in the fall of 2015, but due to a few obstacles it was postponed to the spring. Along the way, Wallace shared a few tracks to help build anticipation, including the irresistible “Shake It Out”. Ticking hi-hat rhythms and turn-taking harmonies give the album a dose of positivity and power, as Wallace sings about strutting your stuff and being confident. “Optimist” continues the positivity as the album begins to reach its end, with glossy, droning synthesizer chords before shifting into an energized finish in “Harlequin” and “We Just Stopped”.
Wallace’s laid-back, passive vocal delivery often has him as the wallflower at his own dance party, putting the music in the forefront and making the dancing a priority as the crowd puts on a smile as the world outside the bedroom gets a little bit darker.
In Alpha Zones is available now, and you can order your copy through his website. Plus, catch AA Wallace on tour this spring.
March 18 – Hamilton, ON @ Stonewalls
March 25 – Sudbury, ON @ The Townehouse
March 26 – Peterborough, ON @ Red Dog
March 29 – Charlottetown, PE @ Baba’s Lounge
March 30 – Saint John, NB @ Bar Down Under
March 31 – Fredericton, NB @ The Capital
April 01 – Moncton, NB @ Tide & Boar
April 02 – Halifax, NS @ The Seahorse Tavern
April 23 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace