The Rural Alberta Advantage release Departing

The Rural Alberta Advantage’s new LP, Departing, looks to continue spreading the word for the Canadian trio, after their first full album Hometowns was released in 2008. This record features a guitar that seems to trade places with the drums because the guitar is subtle and quiet, while the drums are very energetic. At times, Nilis Edenloff sings along with the drums as the guitar stops. In addition to the percussion-dominated album, it sounds like Amy Cole also adds in a basic beat on drums to allow the main drummer, Paul Banwat, more freedom. Edenloff’s voice has a nasally vocal approach which reminds me of Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.
One track which stands out is “Tornado ’87,” with a “Won’t Get Fooled Again” feeling because of the drum fills throughout. It works well with Edenoff’s vocals, which are just as powerful. Almost like a chant with the repetition of “I let you go,” and with the background vocals “Ohhh,” gives a campfire song atmosphere.
Despite the passion drummer Banwatt brings, the songs still have a soft, melodic delivery. The opening track, “Two Lovers,” starts the album off by creating a timeless and nostalgic vibe. This acoustic love song that declares, “If I ever hold you again, I’d hold you tight enough to crush a vein.” But then the second track, “The Breakup,” tugs at the listener’s emotional strings, in contrast to the first song. “Muscle Relaxants,” breaks free the soft feel, and Edenloff moves to his electric guitar to create a song that’s basically RAA just jamming.
One interesting theme is the idea of two people being “torn apart” or holding on to one another. In at least five songs, Edenloff writes about this concept, often just stated in different words. We see that this distance from someone is something that he really channels in this album. The final track ends by saying, “maybe we’ll get back together…”

WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-½
Key Tracks: “Two Lovers, “Tornado ’87” and “Barnes’ Yard”
Recommended if you like: The Antlers, We Were Promised Jetpacks & Frightened Rabbit.

W = Poor
W-P = Fair
W-P-G = Great
W-P-G-U = An instant classic!

About Stanton Polanski

I like to play guitar in my free time. Some bands I really like are Nirvana, the Strokes, and Black Pistol Fire. My favorite food is pizza, and I like gazing into the sunset while watching birds fly above me.

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