Alberta Cross - Broken Side Of Time
Rock bands are bizarre entities at times. The long established rules clearly state that to gain any attention you need to start off loud, cocky and brash. After three or four successful albums you can then channel your inner hippy and get all folky. Alberta Cross clearly forgot to read this manual with their initial release a whimsical acoustic release in 2007. At a band meeting sometime later, someone (probably the drummer) must have crashed in with a copy of “The Manual” under his arm and, as a result of that epiphany, we have this debut full-length album which attacks the senses with a ferocious energy akin to a ferret trapped in Richard Whiteley’s trousers.
‘Song 3Three Blues’ kicks things off with a stirring Neil Young-style guitar riff and high pitched vocals that clearly sets out their stall to thrill. We move swiftly into ‘ATX’, a swaggering, Oasis-style epic that knocks into a cocked hat anything that band have produced in over a decade. ‘Old Man Chicago’ is a pathos soaked, organ ballad that wouldn’t be out of place on a Hold Steady record. Are you counting these influences? There will be a test later.
We then come to the centrepiece of the album, title track ‘Broken Side Of Time’. A heavy, riff-laden intro leads into a classic southern rock style epic reminiscent of the legendary Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song builds, slows and builds again to a climax that leaves you breathless and aching for more of the same. Cunningly they change tempo and slip into ‘Rise From The Shadows’ a fuzzed up but somehow laid back musing on life.
‘City Walls’ follows and is probably a little to similar to the brothers Gallagher for comfort but a small blip like that is easily forgivable when it is done with such panache. The driving rhythms of ‘Leave Us & Forgive Us’ could easily close the album but that task is left to ‘Ghost of The City Life’ a fragile, yet strangely uplifting, tale of the desperation and desires that led to the making of this album.
To produce a contender for best rock record of the year would be an amazing achievement for any band, to do it on your debut album is astonishing. They deserve all the plaudits that will surely be coming their way.