Review: THE ALBERTANS // Legends Of Sam Marco

October 9, 2009

Sometimes we get a little cynical.  Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to give in to a new act we’ve never heard of.  Every now and then we get surprised.

A few weeks ago The Albertans rolled into town on their cross-Canada tour.  Now based in Brooklyn and Vancouver, with a couple members who have Edmonton roots.And I must say, the opening act (The Wheat Pool) left me without much hope for the rest of the night.  Cliche’d frat-rock.  Boring, illiterate and best served with a Coors Lite.  No thanks.

But from the first notes – The Albertans surprised.  With confidence, strong arrangements, and most importantly strong vocals (reminiscent of Stars’ Torquil in tone and delivery) – the band created an inviting and intimate ambience.So, I bought the album.The record lacks the polish that the songs demand.  Its mixed unevenly and fails to properly convey several songs – particularly later in the record as the momentum falters.  But there is no denying its appeal, or the quality of the songwriting, or the great vocals and smart lyrics.
The female backing vocals are sweet – too sweet sometimes – but create a pleasant bed for lead singer Joel Bravo’s intimate baritone.The package design and band name don’t match the band’s indie-dance-vibe.  And the Sam Marcos title doesn’t seem contextual… so we’re gonna just chalk it up to a young, inexperienced band.  But its a band we’re going to keep an eye on, as this debut is stronger than anticipated.

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