There’s an interesting parallel to be drawn between the Albertans and another band near the prairies. The parallel is the path that the Albertans seem to be wandering down, the same path that Royal Canoe embarked on with their EP cleverly titled Extended Play.
Their similarities may not be immediately obvious, as both produce vastly different sounds. Both bands, however, did debut with an album full of playful pop and have since released teasers of a new sound, somewhat more serious than their predecessor.
The previous release from the Albertans was New Age, a clever little indie-pop gem that featured catchy instrumentals, a steady switching of male and female vocals and hooks that might bury themselves in your head. The Hunter is one that will require a few listenings to full take in. While vocals took precedence in New Age, the instrumentals are the priority here.
The title track is a sprawling six-minute song that functions almost as an ambient piece (until you get to the middle portion, of course). There is the steady pulse of keys in the background and a few sung phrases here and there. Eventually, almost out of nowhere, a raucous middle section with much louder dynamics comes in. The steady beat from the beginning makes its way back in with a minute-and-a-half left.
“Powers” is built up slowly, with instruments coming in at different times, almost like a live performance. The atmosphere is dreamy, particularly in the guitar riffs, and again, the instrumentals take precedence here. An interesting exercise for your ear is to try and hear the almost-silent second layer that sounds like thumping.
Finally, there’s “Ohio.” As a quick side note, the state seems to be a popular song title for Canadian musicians lately- The Just Barelys and Lake Forest both have songs called “Ohio” as well. Anyways, here, there are more vocals and the most interesting instrument to note is the steady drum. It’s a quick song and will end before you know it.
As far as I’m concerned, the Albertans have reached a fork in the road, and it will be interesting to see where they go next. Anything could be possible theoretically. Let’s just see what happens.
Top Track: “The Hunter”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)