The Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended With Gold (Out 29.9.2014 Via Paper Bag Records)

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended With Gold (Out 29.9.2014 Via Paper Bag Records)

The third instalment, the 12-track ‘Mended With Gold’ seemingly sets The Rural Alberta Advantage’s stall out early with ‘In The City’ which flexes enough indie-rock muscle to help further complete a still forming impression. certainly ‘Om The Rocks’ and the single-sized ‘Terrified’ along with the band’s 2011 highly acclaimed ‘Departing’ album, which drew high praise from the likes of Pitchfork, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, SPIN and The New York Times, plus multiple Juno Award nominations, and a spot on the Polaris Prize list. So approaching the new album, it’s a health viewpoint that assures me that the trio’s progress continues it seems in good fashion, if not at least vocally which more roots tinged and just about as effective as over the years since their 2008 debut album, ‘Hometowns’. Strange to think it’s been eight years since singer-songwriter Nils Edenloff, percussionist Paul Banwatt, and multi-instrumentalist Amy Cole came together to release their debut self-titled EP as The Rural Alberta Advantage.

‘Mended With Gold’ was written in a remote cottage up in the Bruce Peninsula, TRAA co-produced this new record with Leon Taheny (Owen Pallett, Austra, F*cked Up). As Nils details, “Last spring, I rented a remote cottage up in the Bruce Peninsula on the recommendation of some friends to try to do some writing for the new album.  It turned out to be a pretty terrifying place to be alone with your thoughts – locals told me to watch out for black bears, the heat wasn’t working and at night it sounded like the cottage was surrounded by wolves. I slept with a pocket knife at arms-reach. It’s funny the lines that will run through your head when you’re alone like that and trying to get yourself to sleep- they inspired “To Be Scared”, which is probably one of my favorite songs on the record.”

‘To Be Scared’ is probably a far more charged affair when viewed through from the writer’s perspective. My mindset for some reason is getting all night radio, I am thinking of utilising the word “welly” (throw in some…), the Peel/Long/Lamacq conspiracy still haunts. When the The Rural Alberta Advantage get it right though the end result more than not is most gratifying. Although there are a few tracks that just interpret a too familiar formula, yes the may have helped shape that very equation, but do you need to show all the 21st century studio-hallmarks? That said thankfully there is overall more to on ‘Mended With Gold’ to cherish than doubt, songs like ‘54/33’ and ‘All We Know’ suggest more emotion and purpose, you even understand that the third album is an album is of adventure and loss. Just thought that ‘Mended With Gold’ may have had a touch more oomph, guess that is a common response to a band that at the very least have gained their zen. 7.7/10
Steve Janes

 

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The Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended With Gold (Out 29.9.2014 Via Paper Bag Records)