The Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended With Gold


This is a Rural Alberta Advantage album. As such, you can expect all the things they have come to be known for: hard guitar strums, cacophonous drums, ethereal backing vocals, lamenting lyrics. This has been their signature sound since their first release Departings, and not much has changed. The production has since become fuller, but the same elements are in place and haven’t evolved.

Depending on your feelings, this may or may not be a bad thing. In many ways Mended With Gold is an unexciting release; we’ve heard all this from this band before. It’s a pretty solid rehash of the things we’ve heard from them before. Bookended by the tracks “Our Love…” and “…On the Run,” The RAA follow the same sort of style of songwriting– evidenced on a cursory glance with the song titles “On the Rocks,” “Terrified,” “Runners in the Night,” “To Be Scared,” “All We’ve Ever Known.” Love is hard and anxiety-inducing, as ever.

Having said that, if you like what you’ve heard of the band, you’re in for a treat here. A song like “Terrified,” follows the above template perfectly and is one of the band’s finest. “Vulcan, AB” takes a slight detour from the formula and is a welcome change of pace. With such a signature style, it’s hard for a band such as this to do something that is new and engaging, without losing old listeners. This isn’t the album that changes that. But that’s not an entirely bad thing either. If this is the album that keeps us waiting for a change of pace, there could be a lot of worse things to be hearing. (Paper Bag Records, Devin King