When musicians, especially duos, begin a new venture together, the union is the same as any other relationship: It takes time to work things out. Finding the harmony can be difficult. And there is always that hope that maybe together they can create something beautiful. Tyler Stevely and Andrew Peters, the musical masters behind Trading Alaska, prove in their EP Twenty Nine that they have found their harmony, and together they have created some of the most beautifully bewitching electronic melodies that I have ever heard.
Twenty Nine has been met with critical praise and the duo cite Imagine Dragons, Foster the People, and MGMT as some of their influences, but Stevely and Peters have a sound and musical theme that is uniquely their own. The EP opens with the title track “Twenty Nine,” which instantly grabs audiences’ attention with a soft but commanding guitar intro. The silvery vocals add a heavenly feel to the song, but the lyrics illustrate a struggle that everyone can relate to. The song focuses on the in-between years, the years when we are old enough to want to find our own way in life, but still young enough to be influenced by the advice and meddling of others. There are feelings of confusion and lose, but there is also hope and perseverance. Not a typical topic for a song that has a slight pop feel to it, but that is exactly what I like about the song. “Twenty Nine” is definitely my favourite track on this EP.
“Open” is very different from the previous track. There is no punch to the beat and the singing and music blends together. At first, I was thrown off by the velvety feel of this song, but then I found that it had a bizarre calming effect. Like a much needed hug, “Open” shuts out the world and everything seems absolutely perfect for a brief moment.
“Daveboy” has more of a pop-rock influence, but the heavier topic of the lyrics prevents it from being a typical pop song. This track exemplifies the unfortunate downward plunge that many addicts experience and somehow the song is able to elicit feelings of empathy and compassion for the subject of the song.
The final track “Ghost” also deals with a darker subject, but the music prevents listeners from being thrust into a pit of melancholy. The weird allure of the melodies creates a complex emotion within the song. The result is a type of cathartic effect, and music-lovers are left feeling as light as “ghosts” and Twenty Nine slowly fades away.