Courtesy of Marc Hodges Photography
The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Don’t Haunt This Place”
Nils Edenloff, lead vocalist of The Rural Alberta Advantage, doesn’t really “sing.” No, not really. Instead, Edenloff whispers, sighs, screams, whines, talks, laughs, begs, pines and confides in the listener, welcoming them into his hometown and showing them around to everything and everyone he loves.
Indeed, as the band’s name might suggest, Edenloff grew up in a log cabin in rural Southern Alberta, Canada, a hometown that strongly influenced his songwriting. Now based in Toronto, the band still sticks close to its roots in its complex lyrics, nostolgic vocals and a Canadian-heavy tour to promote Hometowns, the band’s debut album.
Hometowns is, in many respects, a work of true “indie” proportions, with low-fi recording, strained vocals and many experimental tendencies. Yet, what makes the album stand out is the breadth of the lyrics, the emotive vocals of Edenloff and the group’s unique manipulation of the folk formula.
“Rush Apart” and “Luciana” sound like the best parts of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Microphones. Edenloff shouts over noise-folk guitars and bass-heavy drums, which often climax into cymbal crashes and a bold horns section.
“Don’t Haunt This Place,” the quiet standout of the album, starts with warm organ synth and an almost-monotonous Edenloff. The track evolves into an ode to the homesick, the heartbroken and the hopeful romantics, with lush violins, tambourines and the beautiful vocal contributions of bandmate Amy Cole. Edenloff crafts songs that are both joyous and thoughtful, with lyrics that can live and breathe within anyone who has ever missed home.
From Hometowns it is apparent that for The Rural Alberta Advantage, no matter how you change as a songwriter, no matter how far away you move in the world and no matter how old you get, the idea of home is always just a verse or a chorus away.
by Asst. Entertainment Editor Geoff Schorkopf