The Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended With Gold review

The RAASeptember 30th will see the release of Toronto three-piece’s full length record, Mended With Gold. Since forming in 2006, the trio have a released two albums to accompany their self-titled debut EP, and the upcoming twelve-track contribution to the collection – recorded with Matt Lederman and Leon Taheny – will accompany their upcoming UK dates, listed below. You can also check out the third track off the record, On The Rocks.

Our Love… opens the album in a manner almost frightening in the dominance of the vocals, flowing and teasing over an almost eccentric backdrop of sound. Writhing with passion and power through the repetitive lyrics, the song seems to attempt to sound strained, though thankfully without the awful nails-down-a-blackboard side effects this usually exhibits. Although it leaves you on edge every second that the next note will push the track too far, Nils (Edenloff, vocals) remains in control throughout the piece.

More melodic, second track This City provides a soaring instrumental suited to adverts or gyroscopic shots in films, whilst the partially deadpan vocals do their bit to grind a harshly honest sound to the track. On The Rocks, below, adds a psychedelic touch to the record with the fuzz and layered vocals merging to give the impression the song was recorded in a cavern. The hazy and lazy vocals of this song contrast the dominant instrumental, allowing it to forefront the track.

Not faltering on the endless musical directions the record provides, Terrified opens with the apparent intention of becoming Jake Bugg-esque, before it slips into the percussion heavy indie alt-rock sound the previous tracks lived up to. Runners In The Night could well be described as the track of the album that sums up the trio’s sound; the solid backing forms a taut canvas for Nils’s intricately fluctuating vocals to splay themselves across, resulting in a lightly decorated firm sound.

Nils and I share a favourite off the record in To Be Scared, inspired by the thoughts provoked by a night of fear, cold and loneliness. With a mood palette as such to base the track on, the lyrical emphasis is understandable, with the music here taking a backseat. This swaps around again for 45/33, with the theatrical percussion opening the track as a procession, announcing the vocals in the most declarative manner, with Amy’s (Cole, backing vocals and instrumental) interspersing themselves further in, adding embellishment.

All We’ve Ever Known proves to be a flurry of loud instrumental, smothering the vocals, whilst The Build takes it back down to being simply a guitar to open the track, returning the the more basic sound throughout. Despite its unusual title, Vulcan, AB proves to be both relaxing and empowering; a gradual build-up over the sub-three minute song layers vocals and instrument subtley in juxtaposition to the forward and determined lyricism.

Penultimate Not Love Or Death sees the return of the marginally deadpan vocals from Nils, with Amy’s contribution adding a lighter and more metallic edge, before …On The Run closes the record. Although the percussion build up that marks the track sounds closer to an introduction as opposed to a finale, the lul that parts the song midway reveals a closer control as it edges into the final minute of the thirty nine that comprise the album. Brought to a close by paired vocals, there couldn’t be a more fitting way to close the collection.

If you like your indie-rock albums solid with a dabble in the pool of eccentricity, there couldn’t be a more refined release to listen to. The eight years releasing music have lead to a concise sound – below, you can find their UK tour dates, and listen to the third track off the record.

November Live Dates (UK):

21 Birmingham, The Hair and Hounds
22 Glasgow, Broadcast
24 Leeds, Brundenell Social Club
25 Manchester, Soup Kitchen
26 London, Islington Assembly

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