|The Rural Alberta Advantage — The Wild (Oct. 13, 2017)|
The Rural Alberta Advantage — The Wild (Oct. 13, 2017) ♠♠ Toronto indie rockers feature majestic songs with just the right touch of Canadian vastness.
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Styles: Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Album release: October 13, 2017
Record Label: Saddle Creek/Paper Bag
01 Beacon Hill 2:51
02 Bad Luck Again 3:14
03 Dead/Alive 2:20
04 Brother 3:28
05 Toughen Up 2:56
06 White Lights 3:54
07 Alright 3:13
08 Selfish Dreams 3:59
09 Wild Grin 2:46
10 Letting Go 3:45
℗© 2017 Saddle Creek
Album Moods: Reflective Autumnal Bittersweet Soft/Quiet Atmospheric Complex Delicate Organic Precious Sweet Wistful Innocent Melancholy Poignan
Recording Location: Candle Recording, Toronto, Palace Sound, Toronto, Union Sound Company, Toronto
•• Paul Banwatt Group Member
•• João Carvalho Mastering
•• Nils Edenloff Group Member
•• Alex Gamble Assistant Engineer
•• Robin Hatch Group Member
•• Dara Kartz Management
•• Darren McGill Mixing Assistant
•• The Rural Alberta Advantage Producer
•• Leon Taheny Engineer, Mixing, Producer
•• Jadon Ulrich Artwork
••Ξ•• Late in 2016 the trio of Nils Edenloff, Paul Banwatt and Robin Hatch hit the road for a unique set of shows in some of their favourite venues across North America and Europe. They had been hard at work writing their next album and wanted to work out the new material the way they love best: by bringing it to their fans in person. As Nils put it, “I’ve never been good about focusing on a theme or having a specific plan at the outset of a new record. For me, writing music tends to be more of a constantly evolving process, like following one strange trail after another until a song has come to its general conclusion. This time around, we’re following that natural writing process more and inviting the fans to come along those trails with us.”
••Ξ•• Over the ensuing months they took the lessons of the road into the studio, laying ten new tracks to tape. Earlier this year, fans had their first chance to hear the results with the release of singles “White Lights” and “Beacon Hill.” Now, the full fruit of their efforts can be found on The Wild, which will be released October 13th on Saddle Creek and Paper Bag.
••Ξ•• The Rural Alberta Advantage’s percussive folk songs about hometowns and heartbreak, and relentless tradition of touring have taken the trio from humble recognition amongst indie rock die~hards as “Canada’s best unsigned band” to sold~out tours and devoted fans around the world with featured coverage from Spin Magazine, Pitchfork, The New York Times and Rolling Stone all taking note. The band has been nominated for two 2012 Juno Awards (Best New Group and Video of the Year for their song “Stamp”), long listed for the 2011 Polaris Award, and awarded the CBC Music Prize for Best Independent Artist in 2014. The RAA has previously released three albums on Saddle Creek/Paper Bag Records: Hometowns (2009), Departing (2011) and Mended With Gold (2014).
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger; Score: ****
Ξ•• The Wild is the Canadian folk~rockers’ fourth full~length, and the first Rural Alberta Advantage outing for new recruit Robin Hatch, who replaced longtime keyboardist/multi~instrumentalist Amy Cole after the release of the 2014’s Mended with Gold. The economical ten~track set doesn’t tinker too much with the RAA formula — melodic and thoughtful indie folk that’s both bucolic and visceral — but it does deliver the goods with enough sound and fury to signify that something combustible is bubbling beneath the surface. Opener “Beacon Hill” sets a blazing pace — the song chronicles the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires that prompted the largest fire evacuation in Alberta’s history — with drummer Paul Banwatt sounding punchier than ever, punctuating each of frontman Nils Edenloff’s syllables with the might of a carnival strongman knocking the bell off a high striker. That level of intensity doesn’t wane on follow~ups “Dead/Alive” and “Brother,” the former a blast of pure, unadulterated prairie punk, and the latter a soulful attempt to find serenity in change that’s bedazzled with some impressive, Ennio Morricone~esque vocal flourishes. That most cuts eventually work themselves into a frenzy should come as no surprise to listeners who have been charting the group’s progress since their fiery 2009 debut, but The Wild feels largely unencumbered by its adherence to stylistic tropes. This is country~folk with a rock & roll heart that specializes in sweat~inducing, stadium~ready anthems for a crowd of 20 of your closest friends. If anything, the aptly named LP feels more alive than anything the band has let loose to date, despite having successfully distilled their sound down to its very essence. Ξ•• https://www.allmusic.com/
By Lee Zimmerman | October 12, 2017 | 9:36am | Score: 8.7
Ξ•• In a very real sense, The Wild proves a descriptive title for this, the fourth album from the Canadian combo The Rural Alberta Advantage. A collection of tunes that came about organically, spun from their work on the road and determination to let the music steer itself rather than the other way around, it’s easily the band’s most expressive effort. As the trio tells it, there was no particular theme or intent involved in its creation, other than the desire to let the songs evolve naturally over time.
Ξ•• Consequently, The Wild maintains a real sense of spontaneity, a sound in keeping with their manic folk impulses and the heady adrenalin rush that frequently drives their songs to euphoric highs. On offerings like “Alright,” “Beacon Hill” and “Brother,” the group seems determined to get a handle on some unstable circumstances, but even despite the music’s unyielding pace, meeting that challenge somehow seems just out of reach. “I was trying to turn my life around before the last show,” Nils Edenloff wails with a clear degree of desperation on “Selfish,” echoing the furtive stance that dominates the album overall.
Ξ•• Indeed, it’s The Rural Alberta Advantage’s ability to make more with less that becomes the singular most impressive additive in their arsenal. With Edenloff taking center stage on vocals and guitar, Robin Hatch doing due diligence on keyboards, bass and backing vocals, and Paul Banwatt literally pounding the drums with endless abandon, the band make a big sound with only minimal accoutrements. The whooping vocals that echo in the background during the full forward thrust of “Beacon Hill,” “Bad Luck Again” and the album’s one rare moment of respite, “Letting Go,” allow these songs to soar, even in unhinged environs. Edenloff’s frantic strum and Hatch and Banwatt’s ability to indulge and engage at a persistent pace adds to the overall sense of urgency and abandon. Yet ultimately it’s only acoustic guitar and those racing rhythms that drive these tunes, giving the music an emphatic urgency that straddles the divide between desperation and despair.
Ξ•• The Wild seems to have made good on the band’s original intent. And yet, for all its unhinged energy, ragged refrains and frayed edges (Edenloff’s punk~like ramble on “Dead/Alive”) it’s surprisingly cohesive even in the midst of kinetic compulsion. Consider this both edgy and essential. Ξ•• https://www.pastemagazine.com/
By Chris Gee | Published Oct 11, 2017 | Score: 8
|The Rural Alberta Advantage — The Wild (Oct. 13, 2017)|