Filed under: Best of 2009 Albums | Tags: amy cole, best of 2009, hometowns, Neutral Milk Hotel, Nils Edenloff, paul banwatt, Saddle Creek, the air, The Rural Alberta Advantage
You’ve probably heard this Toronto trio compared to Neutral Milk Hotel on more then one occasion, but what many fail to do is recognize the impeccable originality that The Rural Alberta Advantage bring to the genre with their debut release Hometowns.
Re-released under Saddle Creek Records in July 2009, Hometowns is a perfectly tailored release, exceeding anyone’s expectations for a standard debut album. For a band that formed a mere four years earlier, Paul Banwatt, Amy Cole and Nils Edenloff demonstrate incredible harmony and unison within each facet of the album.
Employing the widest range of sound, RAA’s Hometowns is almost an oxymoron. Each note is incredibly fresh and unprecedented, yet every arrangement is drenched in homelike familiarity. The album is a mash of everything from indie synth-pop to post-punk, while retaining an immaculate flow.
Whether you are in a mood for a jam session or a melodic ballad, Hometowns seems to merge all of the above. The band’s ability to retain accessibility while exploring such an array of sounds is nothing short of astounding for the young band to master. Every song is precise and calculated, as each instrumental layer fits ideally with the next. Assortment of light drum thumps, tambourine beats sprinkled with the occasional airy violins give the album an incredible variety, making it relatable from multiple angles.
Hometowns has humbly caught attention this year, and put The Rural Alberta Advantage on the map. Hopefully, it’s just the first in a line of many intrepid releases for the group.
— Irina Dvalidze