2017, Music

The Wild (2017) by The Rural Alberta Advantage

I first saw The Rural Alberta Advantage at WIMF many years ago. (Possibly before this album came out.) They were appealing in part because of their unique instrumentation – a vocalist and acoustic guitarist, a keyboardist and backing vocalist, and a drummer, nothing else. Also, the drummer played at the front of the stage, sideways, so you could watch him because he’s an incredible drummer. (Why does this band have an incredible drummer? I don’t know.)

I must say that I enjoyed them more in person than on record. Not to say I didn’t enjoy this – it’s fine enough. But they’re pretty high energy live and of course the drummer is great. That energy is here on this record but is somewhat muted by the style of music they play and, I guess, the sound of the record.

The songs are pretty decent. I feel like I’ve heard at least one of them before but I have trouble imagining I can actually remember songs from whenever I saw them live so maybe I’ve heard it somewhere else (or I’m imagining things). They do sort of follow the same pattern a lot of the time.

As much as I’m all for overdubs in the studio, I think one of the things that appealed to me about them live was the quirky instrumentation. But here there are occasional electric guitars and the odd other things that makes them sound like lots of other bands.

But I think my biggest issue really is the relative thinness of the sound. Despite being a trio, they sounded loud live (and we were in a baseball diamond). Here there isn’t enough dynamic range; maybe you can blame that on the lack of bass but I think it’s the mix.

Anyway, this is totally fine. I don’t mean to sound like I’m panning it. I just enjoyed them live and this record, if I had listened to it without seeing them live, would not have made me want to see them live on its own, I don’t think.


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