By Nick Laugher
Paper Bag Records
Rough and ragged folk-rockers, the Rural Alberta Advantage, have finally returned with Mended With Gold, the long awaited follow-up to 2011’s Departing. What’s immediately noticeable is the change in production. Glossy and glammed up, this record makes their debut, Hometowns, sound more like a rough demo than a full-length. However, that only serves to make Hometowns seem more endearing, and this one less so.
Whereas their previous two albums had songs with infectious and urgent melodies that clung to the inside of your chest, Mended With Gold sees the band having found a formula that works, and doing little to stray from that.
While the band experiment a bit with drum machines here and there, there’s nothing terribly exciting or fresh about these songs. Lead singer Nils Edenloff has swapped out his pining for places and past experiences, with meditations on love and loss, and while his signature howl and the blistering fast drums of Paul Banwatt are still there, it feels kind of like a Rural Alberta Advantage paint by numbers.
While the record is by no means a bad listen, it fails to capture that manic desperation and beautiful reckless abandon of their first two records.
Mended With Gold, The Rural Alberta Advantage