ALBUM REVIEWS


Alberta Cross
THE THIEF AND THE HEARTBREAKER
FICTION RECORDS 14.5.07
@www.vanguard-online.co.uk


Beginning with some big chiming riffs bearing a remarkable resemblance to the opening of Neil Youngís Down By The River, this is the sound of Southern bar room rock. It plods along in a solid, shoulder-shrugging way and I mean that as a compliment Ė the aforementioned Neil Young and Crazy Horse have made a forty year career out of it. Other reference points would be Ian McNabb of the Icicle Works. Things speed up a little in track three but Low Man (track four) is back to sad Americana whining. Itís atmospheric stuff. Bits sound a little like The Willard Grant Conspiracy in tone but as if the Allman Brothers were playing them on qualudes.

Yet this is a band from London today, not Alabama in the late sixties. Put together by a Swedish / British songwriting partnership, this has all the swamp fever of something from another continent. It may just be that these boys recorded the set in the tropical house at Kew Garden, not in North London as they claim. Itís a short album at under half an hour but the songs, a mere seven of them, are given time to flex and stretch, hammering on in a world-weary journey through their past. Last song, The Devilís All You Ever Had, takes on an anthemic quality built by steady repetition to the seven minute mark.

I realise Iíve made this sound like a dreary album but itís not. It didnít grab me at first but on the third listen gave up its charms. If you like brass with the tarnish on and rusty old ironmongery and albums that sound somewhere out of time then you might want to check this out.

But make sure you buy Neil Youngís Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere first.

www.myspace.com/albertacross


Ross McGibbon