Author: Steve Klinge
Once the Neutral Milk Hotel comparisons start flying, a band should probably duck, and with his hard-strummed guitar and passionate, straining voice, Nils Edenloff can't escape being compared to Jeff Mangum comparisons. The Rural Alberta Advantage's fondness for sudden crescendos only magnifies the similarities.But the RAA is bold enough to open their second album with a song that hints at NMH's "Ghost," and Edenloff sings in full open-throated fervor throughout the album. And that's fine: The songs are strong enough and the band unbridled enough to forge its own identity. Departing builds on themes the band explored on 2009 debut Hometowns with another batch of geographically specific Canadian tales of tumultuous loves (thus akin to the Weakerthans). Set to stuttering drums and a staccato keyboard, "The Breakup" uses the ice breaking in the spring tundra as a metaphor for the dissolution of a relationship. Moments of tenderness balance galloping rave-ups.Departing is an extension rather than a departure, in relation to Hometowns- and to In The Aeroplane.DOWNLOAD: "North Star," "Barnes' Yard"