Since musicians discovered the use of irony it seems safe to assume that an album called 'Happiness' contains anything but moments of pleasure. Such is the case with Alaska's debut; a collection of downbeat, often leaden-paced music. Thanked amongst the credits is one Pete Fijalkowski and at times the influences of his band Polak shine through. The haunting piano motif which provides the tune for opener 'Lost In Space' suggests a depressed Coldplay. Thankfully it's also an excellent track, finished off with a fine bit of crunchy guitar riffing. The piano also adds a layer of briefly uplifting music to 'All The Dead Astronauts' and, perversely, a song called 'Even Steamtrains Die In The End' is the happiest song of all. The remainder is largely made up of mid-tempo ballads of which 'Telescopes' and 'Satellite' are well-produced and neatly carried off but as one track follows another, the limitations of Simon Witts' vocals become clear and the songs aren't strong enough to compensate for the monotonous delivery. It's almost a relief, therefore, when the distorted effects on 'Underwater' show up and a welcome sense of urgency is recovered. There's a great mini album in here and enough talent on show to leave hopes that the cracks can be papered over on Alaska's next outing.