Alberta Cross: Broken Side of Time
Now where have I heard this before? Hirsuite males play stadium tinged hippie folk rock – when not strumming a “gee-tar” and smoking one of those, ahem, handmade cigarettes, but also like to get loud and “cray-zee” every now and again. And pretend they all were brought up in the outbacks of Alabama where ‘Freebird’ played constantly on the radio.
Admittedly Alberta Cross’ debut album ‘Broken Side of Time’ owes much to Kings of Leon. Fortunately they haven’t done anything as silly as ‘Sex on Fire’. And almost every single Southern-styled (even though most of the band aren’t even American) folk rock band that ever existed from groups like the Band through Crosby, Stills and Nash (and Young) to the Raconteurs.
And why do all these bands have tales to tell about how their “woman” done them wrong, or, in fact, how they’ve done their “woman” wrong... Possibly because you kept referring to them with the derogatory term “woman” might have something to do with it.
But Alberta Cross do bring something a little different to the rather over-mined genre. Things here are a painted in a darker hue than usual as with the title track and ‘Rise from the Shadows’. Apparently guitarist and vocalist Petter Ericson Stakee and the band had been listening to the bedroom balladeers Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen during the recording of the album and some of that has rubbed off. But we’re not talking shades of jet black like the Swans, Joy Division or Big Star’s ‘Holocaust’ but more a bit of murky grey.
Elsewhere it’s a healthy dose of grandiose stadium rock. Stakee let’s it all out on ‘The Thief and The Heartbreaker’ (with added shades of Led Zeppelin). The listener gets a burst of ‘emotional’ singing as well as bursts of big chords and flashy guitars. Clearly Alberta Cross have their eye on the prize from the start (not necessarily a bad thing).
Mostly though it’s a steady, workman-like performance with carefully created rousing songs. While it may be perfectly all acceptable its hardly impressive, original stuff either.
Clearly Alberta Cross so desperately want to be part of the mainstream rock establishment – and I don’t want to stand in their way if that’s what they want – but while ‘Broken Side of Time’ may be fine as an opening mission statement the band will have to pull off something rather more self-assured and impressive than this.