The A.K.A.s - White Doves & Smoking Guns (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The A.K.A.s

White Doves & Smoking Guns (2003)

Fueled By Ramen

The New York based band A.K.A.'s (are everywhere) is the brainchild of former Brothers Keeper vocalist Mike Ski and is a 5 piece band. They are a new addition to the ever expanding Fueled By Ramen label, and this is their debut full-length, produced by Tim O'Heir (All American Rejects).

Well, was I glad to receive this little goodie in my mailbox, I say! It's really not that I got fed up with the stuff that's coming out these days, far from, but I find it harder everyday to come up with a relevant and original review of a disc, since there's so much similarity in this scene these days. I have had to use the same adjectives and references over and over again with my narrow knowledge of the English language, but here's something completely different and I love it, although it's far from the typical Fat-sound that I hold so dear, and it's nowhere near the catchy pop-punksongs we're all getting used to. It even hasn't got anything to do with melodic hardcore, ska- or streetpunk. So what is it? Well, I'd label it searing punk rock ‘n roll with balls. And although this is definitely a political band, they evoke joyful feelings with me. I guess it's their no-nonsense approach that reminded me of Randy or The Hives, although there's not that retro-feeling I get when listening to this. Plus, the A.K.A.'s aim for a more uplifting sound, a bit similar to New Bomb Turks at times. The prominent classic keyboards are a nice addition to their already diverse sound. Actually, these keyboards toggled by Nina Aron, have the typical Doors-sound, but obviously are played in a totally different environment, so there's no melancholy involved here. Guitars sometimes use heavy distortion, and at times sound like old-fashioned MC5, but then again there's also a portion of modern-day gut-wrenching chords. The vocals sound filthy and full of anger, yet they never break out in screaming, roaring or any of these blurry wordramblings. I guess Pelle Almqvist's (Hives) vocals come pretty near, except maybe that this guy adds a little gruffiness to it. There's also no lack of potential that you'll start to sing along with these songs, the excited backings will help you through it. Some of the lyrics call for revolution, peace, disarmament; not in a preachery or winded way, but in short phrases and leaving no room for ambiguity. And there's no sleezy lovesongs here, just a few words about romance gone dead and criticizing words about covergirls in glossy magazines. Thanks, A.K.A.'s!

In short, this really is an album that breathes out an old-fashioned feeling but in fact is one of the most refreshing things I've heard since long. There's not really any standout tracks, but there's no bad ones either, the album just flows along on its own constant powerful pace. It's overflowing in energy and balances between making you want to swing or spitting your heart out with a yell. "White Doves" in their message, "Smoking Guns" in their music. At least this guy took a step to further freedom with this swirling album. You should try it as well!