Review: The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns

With a name like The Rural Alberta Advantage and a début album called Hometowns you would be forgiven for expecting a folk/country band singing wistful indie folk tunes about where they grew up. However, although this Toronto-based three piece do sing songs about their home towns whilst playing acoustic instruments, this is not your typical country album.

Though there are some undeniably country influences on the album, what really makes it stand out are the drums. Paul Banwatt’s drumming is incessant and energetic and on many of the songs is at the centre of the mix, leading the songs in a way you don’t often hear.

But it’s not all about the drums, as they are wonderfully arranged alongside quirky synthesizers and twangy acoustic guitar, and these elements superbly accompany the rasping delivery of the heartfelt lyrics by Nils Edenloff.

There is an intensity and energy present throughout the album, whether it is in the fervent drumming on tracks like The Dethbridge in Lethbridge or in the absorbing, deeply personal, lyrics that regularly touch on the topics of love, loss and the feelings of broken-heartedness. Even when the tempo slows on tracks like The Air or Sleep All Day you can still feel the passion within the music, and in fact perhaps even more so.