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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Alaska - 1985 The Pack
Alaska - 1985 The Pack

ARTIST: Alaska
ALBUM: The Pack
LABEL: Music For Nations
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1996, Castle Communications (UK), CLACD422


LINEUP: Robert Hawthorn - vocals * Bernie Marsden - guitars * Don Airey - keyboards * Brian Badhams - bass * John Marter - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Run WIth The Pack * 02 Woman Like You * 03 Where Did They Go (Bonneville Blues) * 04 Schoolgirl * 05 SOS * 06 Help Yourself * 07 Miss You Tonight * 08 The Thing * 09 I Really Want To Know

Alaska started life off as Bernie Marsden's SOS back in 1983, but gradually morphed into Alaska by the following year with a slightly modified line-up for their classic pomp debut 'Heart Of The Storm'. An excellent set, and a revered album by yours truly, it was slightly disappointing that the band moved away from a keyboard heavy approach on 'HOTS', however they reverted to a radio friendly approach not unlike Rio for 1985's 'The Pack', their second and final album. Some great songs admittedly but not as consistent as those found on 'HOTS'.

The Songs
Alaska start out with the blistering title-track opener 'Run With The Pack'. The guitar/keyboard interchange is swapping riffs and melodies like a bookie on course at Arlington Raceway! 'Woman Like You' sounds much better than what I originally remembered it (thanks to digital technology!), but my favourite track is the rather cool radio rock of 'Where Did They Go' which sounds just as good now as it did then. 'Schoolgirl' is a bit crassy and sassy while 'S.O.S' is the kinda rock/blues thing Marsden when in the employ of Mr Coverdale. 'Help Yourself' takes a leaf out of the Magnum rough n ready songbook, the next track 'Miss You Tonight' is a keyboard laced ditty, and is a cover of the song made popular by Kim Carnes. I like this version better though! 'The Thing' if I recall was inspired by the John Carpenter movie of the same name. Unusual yes, but things are restored to Alaska like greatness with the tremendous pomp of 'Really Want To Know', which harks back to the sound and attitude of 'Heart Of The Storm'.

In Summary
The band followed this album up with a VHS release of a performance in the UK called 'Alive', but beyond '86, the band were toast. Pinnacle/Castle Communications did come up with a single CD of both albums plus bonus tracks on a 2000 CD package. Interestingly, in an interview on a Deep Purple tribute site, Bernie said that in hindsight both Alsaka albums sounded good, but that he wasn't 100% into it, and that it wasn't fair on the other band members, so he folded the band. A shame really. Marsden went on to form the band MGM with ex members from Whitesnake, plus he took Alaska drummer John Marter along for the ride. This outfit lasted until 1987 and after that Marsden hooked up with old mate Micky Moody to form the Marsden Moody Band, which has sustained itself in various guises right up until current day.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on February 27 2008 16:45:30
Although the singer used to be a regular visitor to 'Shades' and was a nice guy, I never really bothered with this band at the time. Having recently picked up the Castle compilation CD for a bargain £2.99 I realise I missed out big-time. The songs were great. I was clearly into too many American imports at the time to bother...shame on me...
#2 | Eric on February 27 2008 17:30:05
It's funny, I liked this record much better than the first. Personal taste is always subjective.
#3 | gdazegod on February 27 2008 19:39:34
Don't get wrong Eric.. I like this album a lot too.. and listening to it again in its entirety after many years bought back a lot of good memories. Might have to find some time to watch the live video again!
#4 | rostoned on May 15 2008 22:35:51
George unfortunately the CD 'Bronze Years' from Castle released in uk in 2000 which you refer to in the review does NOT have any bonus track and it does NOT feature the complete albums since 'Susie Blue' (from HOTS) and 'Missing You' (from TP) are missing! To add insult to the injury the tracklist of the disc has the 1985 album before the 1984 one! pissed
#5 | super80boy on November 27 2013 17:07:00
Pretty good mix of AOR and melodic rock with a nice slice of blues rock at the end-'SOS'. Standout Tracks: 'I Really Want To Know', 'Run With The Pack' and 'Woman Like You'. Song running order on my vinyl version is different than the CD.
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