Published Dec 06, 2010When the Rural Alberta Advantage recorded their debut album, 2008's Hometowns, the folk-leaning pop rockers were almost total unknowns. This anonymity didn't last for long, however, as the Toronto-based trio's nostalgic songs about living in Alberta soon earned them a rabid following. Now, the band are getting set to release their sophomore album, Departing, which is due March 1 via Paper Bag/Saddle Creek.
Speaking on the line from a tour stop in Paris, frontman Nils Edenloff explains that he sees Departing as a companion piece to the beloved Hometowns. "It felt like maybe it was an end to the stuff that we started with Hometowns," he tells Exclaim! "I don't want it to come across like we're a one-trick pony or something, but we wanted to explore more of the stuff we were doing with Hometowns now that we feel more comfortable with what we're doing."
Stylistically, Departing isn't far removed from the group's past works, as clattering rhythms and tinny keyboards provide a backdrop for Edenloff's strummed guitars and high, impassioned vocals. Lyrically, it is less overtly grounded in Alberta geography, although Edenloff insists that the references are still there.
"In a way, it's more personal stories about Alberta," he reveals. "Songs like 'The Breakup' -- it's referencing a lot of places in Fort McMurray and a lot of memories I have, and that moment when winter shifts to spring and the ice breaks. And 'Good Night,' every line in that is about Fort McMurray."
Like Hometowns, the new LP was recorded at Toronto's Boombox Sound with producer Roger Leavens. After making demos in the spring, recording began in earnest in the summer, wrapping up by late October. These sessions reflected the band's recent growth. "When we were recording Hometowns, we didn't really know what we were doing," admits Edenloff. "I really think that in the last year or two years, [we've been] feeling more confident in what we do."
Now, the band are back on the road, wrapping up a series of European dates before returning to Canada for a handful of shows in December. See the schedule here, and expect extensive touring in the new year. In the meantime, you can check out the Departing tracklist below and the album art above.
1. "Two Lovers"
2. "The Breakup"
3. "Under the Knife"
4. "Muscle Relaxants"
5. "North Star"
7. "Tornado '87"
8. "Barnes' Yard"
9. "Coldest Days"
10. "Good Night"