I have listened to a lot of music. Over the past few years, I have come to accept that there is very little that musically surprises me anymore. I am not saying that there is nothing good out there, to the contrary there has been a lot of good music lately, it is simply that the music I have listened to recently lacks staying power. When I say staying power, I mean that I can play the album a week, month, year or years later and not be embarrassed. The Rural Alberta Advantage debut album Hometowns caught me off guard.
Hometowns is a well crafted album. The Rural Alberta Advantage’s sound can best be described as back to the basics. The guitar uses very little, if any, distortion and the bass and drums sound crisp as well. They prove that you do not need added effects to make a lot of noise. What separates Hometowns from other albums is that all of the instruments are front and center. You can hear and feel them. They are not muted or soft, as is the case with so many others. The band harmonizes well with their instruments too. Their voices add depth to the sound.
The other element that works perfectly on this album is the blending of melancholy homesick lyrics with faster tempo songs. It gives the songs more of an it-is-what-it-is feel rather than a completely lost tone. It sounds as if the songwriter has come to terms with not being completely satisfied with their life. This is a way everyone can relate to feeling at one point or another in their life. It is the true to life qualities in the lyrics that makes this a fantastic album. When the lyrics and instruments all come together, The Rural Alberta Advantage have put out one of the best albums I have heard in years.
Score: 6.9 (there is one track I skip over, it is not my favorite. Otherwise, I can listen from top to bottom.)
1 –3: I was impaired in some way when I bought this album (it’s embarrassing)
4: A few decent tracks, nothing memorable. Selling it back to the record store
5: Some great tracks, a solid album
6: One of the better albums I have listed to
7: These are very few and far between. Flawless from top to bottom