The Rural Alberta Advantage are a Canadian indie-rock/Americana trio with a sound not unlike Centro-Matic. I found them thanks to a reader submission, but I’ve been unable to learn much about them. Far as I can tell, they’re unsigned. Which is a damn shame, because their debut record, “Hometowns,” is adventurous, full of hooks, and a pleasure from start to finish.
The opening track, “Ballad of the RAA,” is electronica-meets-country, a refreshingly different take on what has become the pretty standard indie genre of Americana. Lots of folks discuss the huge influence of Brian Wilson on indie rock, but one can make the argument that Van Morrison and his successors (Counting Crows, e.g.), have been an equally important force, and Rural Alberta Advantage clearly borrow heavily from the latter. But other cuts, like “Drain the Blood,” dump the electronica and instead go for earnest, overwrought vocals. Then “Luciano” comes on with fuzzy punk and blurry drums. Yet every song is instantly familiar, and completely accessible, as all great pop should be.
This album will keep you guessing, but will never leave you behind.