The Rural Alberta Advantage | Departing

Saddle Creek (2011)
By RYAN STEWART  |  March 23, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars


On their debut, Hometowns, Toronto's Rural Alberta Advantage sounded like a band in search of an identity. On one track, they were a competent folk-country outfit, on the next, twinkly-eyed synth-poppers. It was a bit of a mess, but there were moments when they seemed to be onto something. So surely the improved focus on Departing must be to their benefit, no? Well, not so much - of all the possible directions the band could have taken, they decided on generic coffeehouse folk pop, with predictably pleasant-yet-dull results. Lead singer Nils Edenloff has a nasally twang that's generated some comparisons with Jeff Mangum, but unlike Mangum's voice, his begins to grate somewhere around track eight. The percussion is needlessly prominent; the keyboards now feel ornamental. Lead single "Stamp" gets things mostly right, a blend of intensity and craft with propulsive drumming and Edenloff's vocals working together to create a sense of urgency and anger. This one has a sound that suits them. Perhaps they can try focusing on that next time out.
Related: Robyn at the State Theatre, January 29, Photos: Tennis at Great Scott, Taboo + Ancestral Diet at the Apohadion, March 8, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Jeff Mangum, Pop,  More more >
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