Rural Alberta Advantage — Mended With Gold 7.5

RURAL-ALBERTA

Rural Alberta Advantage
Mended With Gold
Saddle Creek

There is little that separates Mended With Gold, the third album from folkie-punks Rural Alberta Advantage, from either of the group’s first two LPs, 2009’s near-flawless debut Hometowns, or it’s skillful, if somewhat muted successor, Departing. Acoustic guitars strum at alternating speeds and jostle for position with keyboard coos and the most devastating one-man percussion section in Western Canada. Thematically, these songs tread familiar ground — failing relationships and regional conflict, yeah, OK — but there is usually enough happening musically to hold your interest. Tracks like “On the Rocks” and “All We’ve Ever Known” raise a terrific racket, while other spots occupy much more reflective and open territory. This is a band that values consistency over curiosity: look elsewhere for the adventurous and unpredictable. —Andrew Watson

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