CD Review – The Rural Alberta Advantage: Departing


The Rural Alberta Advantage
Paper Bag

The first Rural Alberta Advantage record was rooted in a deep nostalgia for the province that gives the band its name. The wintry cover for their newest record, Departing, evokes that nostalgia, but also suggests the way the band twists and explores it. Instead of bright and clear, it’s covered with a snowy haze, reflected dimly in the rearview mirror of a car nearly lost in drifting snow. And while nostalgia might be trendy in the aftermath of 2010’s chillwave explosion, The Rural Alberta Advantage explore it with a gorgeous sparseness and clarity, their low-rent keyboards, simple drumming, and earnest guitar strumming all recorded in a way that make the band feel extraordinarily present. It’s simple, direct, and powerful – whether it’s uptempo numbers like “Under the Knife” and the surprisingly post-punky “Stamp” or quiet, slower numbers like exquisite closer “Good Night,” the band seems confident enough in their songwriting that they don’t need to clobber you over the head with one idea for too long. The only drawback to this is that some of Departing’s ten songs rush by too quickly. It would be nice to gain some footing once in a while.

John Cameron

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