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Sound Off!: The Rural Alberta Advantage


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MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – Don’t Haunt This Place from Hometowns (re-release on Saddle Creek  July 07, 2009)

The Rural Alberta Advantage have got something special. Like any good music group, a list of their influences (Neutral Milk Hotel, Mountain Goats, countless other gloomy bands) doesn’t even half explain their music. Trying to break down their debut album, Hometowns, into genres and comparisons proves itself a futile task because there’s something untouchable about them, almost as if what they create is more than its material aspects.

With pipes that ineffably burrow into you (like those of many who inspire him), Nils Edenloff’s vocal work probes around with rippled valor and finds it’s home right near where your most melancholy emotions reside. While Hometowns definitely sounds like a collaborative effort, most would point to Nils when looking for a frontman. He’s accompanied by Paul Banwatt, a drummer who,  if “Don’t Haunt This Place” tells us anything, has got some serious skills, and Amy Cole, whose voice perfectly accentuates Nils’ in all the most necessary places. They come to the table with a downcast mix of guitar-driven indie rock, sometimes heralding with frantic blasts of energy, others utilizing more contemplative moods bordering on folk-art, but always accomplishing what the song intends.

Following a near-zero-press independent release of the album last year on eMusic, the RAA have been steadily doctoring a now-developing buzz in the music world, and have opted to re-release Hometowns through Saddle Creek Records (a damn good decision). They may sound like a thousand other forgettable indie outfits, but something about these Albertans sticks regardless of that fact. Prediction: a total blog-based (cough) explosion of popularity in the next month or two.