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Alberta Cross - Broken Side of Time

Alberta Cross, Broken Side of Time

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

ALBERTA Cross claim to be trying to give people “truly soulful music, which is hopefully inspirational”, despite admitting that new album Broken Side of Time is darker, angrier and “a desperation album”.

The ingredients for this are propulsive, throbbing basslines, crashing waves of guitar, haunting, impassioned vocals and a classic American rock approach. The results are pretty darn impressive, particularly if you’ve been getting your musical kicks of late from the likes of Kings of Leon, or who have ever dug classic US stalwarts such as Tom Petty, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

The album itself took root in an April 2008 jam session, when guitarist/vocalist Petter Ericson Stakee and bassist Terry Wolfers enlisted guitarist Sam Kearney, drummer Austin Beede and keyboardist Alec Higgins and shared some drink and a little smoke to work on and refine the songs that Stakee had recently written while listening to the likes of Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and the gospel songs of Depeche Mode.

The influence of each of those artists is apparent in the composition and style of the songs, as well as the gutsy, raw style of early Kings of Leon and even PJ Harvey.

Admittedly, Broken Side of Time isn’t doing much different, but it does what it knows well. Rock fans will be impressed throughout.

The formula is established from the outset amid the flurry of guitars that greet Song Three Blues, an impassioned, Neil Young-esque lament that is delivered with genuine conviction.

It’s followed by the full throttle rock of ATX, where wailing, siren-like guitars lay down skyscraping riffs and Stakee laments with an Oasis-style swagger that he was born on his knees but couldn’t see! It’s rousing stuff.

Further highlights come from the folksy slice of American-rock that is Old Man Chicago, which finds Stakee in Dylan/Petty vocal mode, and the haunting Rise From The Shadows, a slow-burner of the highest calibre that boasts a haunting electronic bed and a cinematic sweep that’s utterly beguiling. It strips back the guitars and marks a refreshing change of pace.

Likewise, the early part of City Walls, which opens in similarly low-key fashion before rocking out in gutsy, inspired fashion to deliver another firm highlight.

The quality remains high on the guitar-led The Thief & The Heartbreaker, which is layered and emotionally intense, the wall of noise that is Leave Us & Forgive Us and the acoustic final offering Ghost of City Life, which strips things all the way back down again for a stark, thought-provoking final instalment that really stays with you.

Alberta Cross may have garnered glowing reviews for their breakthrough EP The Thief & The Heartbreaker in 2007, but they can look forward to more of the same with this decidedly fuller and more ambitious full LP. It deserves to really put this band on the map.

Download picks: ATX, Old Man Chicago, Rise From The Shadows, City Walls, Ghost of City Life

Track listing:

  1. Song Three Blues
  2. ATX
  3. Taking Control
  4. Old Man Chicago
  5. Broken Side Of Time
  6. Rise From The Shadows
  7. City Walls
  8. The Thief & The Heartbreaker
  9. Leave Us And Forgive Us
  10. Ghost Of City Life