The Rural Alberta Advantage: Hometowns

HometownsThink of these guys with the weird Canadian name as a Neutral Milk Hotel laid bare. Strip away the singing saw, the oddball antique instruments and, well, some of the pretension, and you’re left with a passionate album of well crafted songs full of multi-instrumentation, a distinct, raw-throated singer and an underlying love of pop melodies. The comparison really isn’t fair, as RAA are more understated and less carnival-like, even doing a stripped down boy/girl harmony with violin and a really cool, spare drum beat on “Don’t Haunt This Place,” although they owe their spirit to the same post-punk spirit as fellow Canucks Arcade Fire and even those wacky Ra Ra Riot kids with a dash of deadboy & the Elephantmen. All miss-firing comparisons aside, I really like this album, and look forward to their future output–as well as their actual signing to a decent indie label. Good stuff.