Canadian indie/rock trio The Rural Alberta Advantage have won the hearts of many over the past few years, having been nominated for huge awards such as the Polaris Music Prize and critically acclaimed all over the world; since forming in 2005 they have graced us with their debut self-titled EP and two studio albums (Hometowns in 2008 and Departing in 2011. The group’s biography states that they have “earned a reputation as one of the most impressive live bands you’ll ever see”, an experience they have tried to capture whilst making their new album Mended With Gold. This is the first time the group combined touring and songwriting to create an album, which should make for some impeccable content.
The minimalistic intro to Our Love soon gives way to a sneak peak of the liveliness we have always come to expect with The RAA, the approachable verse transitions into a chorus you could describe as a ball of energy; the beat of This City is addictive, the intriguing melody also captivating to the ear and manages to do so in the short amount of time they have. On The Rocks has a smoother approach, the piano seemingly playing in the background is the icing on the cake, the overall feel of the track is stunning; an awesome melody line, an atmospheric sound and an incredible energy resonates through the punchy Terrified. The lighter feel of Runners In The Night still manages to swing in a full sound, much like its predecessors; To Be Scared was said to have been inspired by a lonely stay at a remote cottage in the Bruce Peninsula, the finger picking of the acoustic guitar and the overall vibe of the track successfully captures that feeling of being alone and helpless. The edginess returns in 45/33, it’s a guitar happy track with a prominent beat that leaves you wanting more, that yearning is satisfied with the exhilaration of All We’ve Ever Known.
A feeling of intimacy is embraced whilst listening to The Build, the gracious acoustic guitar sets the tone and the drums in the horizon take it to the next level, it really feels like you are sharing the room with the group as they serenade you; Vulcan, AB sets the mood to bring you to the band’s level, you feel like you are experiencing the heartbreak/loss at the same time, the melody brings those emotions home. Not Love Or Death probably best captures the experience we could expect from seeing The RAA live, it sounds like you are listening to a performance of the track in a live venue, which is what the group have been aiming for with the album. Last but not least is …On The Run, the piano and subtle beat drive the verse with a smooth melody line in accompaniment, it made sense to end the album on this note as it serves as a ‘cool down’ to see the LP off.
The Rural Alberta Advantage’s third album Mended With Gold is a solid effort, not one track sounds like it shouldn’t be there and the whole record seemed to flow so well. You find yourself becoming so involved whilst listening to it that it feels like you are sharing a room with the band as they lay down the tracks, making you feel right at home with the music. If this is what The Rural Alberta Advantage is capable of now, it’s exciting to think about what will happen with their next release as they consistently raise their own bar with each instalment.