07/14/2009 | | | Album Review
Alt-country, blah, blah, blah, indie rock, blah, blah, blah, Neutral Milk Hotel, blah, blah, blah, Arcade Fire, blah, blah, blah, Sufjan, blah, blah. Search reviews of the band's debut, Hometowns, and this is more or less what you getů

While I don't disagree with these and other comparisons, I also can't endorse them. I have disliked most of what I've heard by Arcade Fire, have limited experience with NMH (I like the song with the lyrics, "Semen stains the mountaintops", but know little to nothing else by them), and could never get very into indie darling Sufjan Stevens. What I can say about Saddle Creek's re-release of RAA's debut is that it's catchy, enjoyable, and strikes me as what Death Cab for Cutie would sound like if Ben Gibbard was replaced by Billy Corgan.

Like a lot of the music I review on this site (or at least some), it's not exactly my cup of tea or mug of beer, but Hometowns is a good album. It reeks of NPR greatness; fans of shows like Bob Boilen's acclaimed show All Songs Considered will likely hear and love multiple songs off of this album very soon (if not already). Indie is what indie does, or something like that.

I love the opening track's thumping bass. The track, entitled "The Ballad of the RAA", is the perfect opener. A dancey beat, stripped down sound, and great use of a xylophone, all set the stage for what is to come. Singer Nils Edenloff's vocals shine through from the time he begins to sing. The nasal vocal stylings are very quirky and distinct, but don't annoy me the way others who have similar deliveries do.

Other tracks that standout to as my favorites are "Drain the Blood" and "The Air". It is fair, however, to say, that every track on the album is solid. In fact, it is also fair to say that after a few more listens, this CD just may become my cup of tea or mug of beer. So, check it out, you won't likely be sorry.


LP / CD / MP3