Review : Alberta Cross - Songs of Patience
PastemagazinePetter Ericson Stakee and Terry Wolfers met in a London pub several years ago and developed a friendship based on their shared love of American folk and country music. The two eventually began writing and recording together, and inevitably they moved to America—Brooklyn, in fact. It’d be easy to view the music they record as Alberta Cross as a mix of geographically identifiable influences, but perhaps not in the obvious ways. On their second full-length album, Songs of Patience, they still sound like a UK band trying to master an American idiom: Alberta Cross sets its sites on My Morning Jacket, but they end up somewhere closer to Gomez, albeit with a bit more crunch and groove.
The music can be surprisingly inventive, often taking off in surprising directions. “Crate of Gold” lurches with a heavy stomp and a slash-and-burn guitar riff, but ultimately it’s in service to a non-hook that makes the song sound shapeless. Stakee’s guitar slices around opener “Magnolia” but the song veers toward easy, hokey uplift. The problem is that Alberta Cross isn’t creative enough to define transcendence as anything other than a sweeping chorus and mewling vocals that show more familiarity with ’90s Britrock than ’30s American folk.
On some level, Alberta Cross are trying to summon up what Greil Marcus called “the old weird America,” but they sound too new and normal. Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s hard for these songs to breathe—to convey any insight or measured dynamic—when Stakee sings every line with the same top-of-the-mountain breathlessness. As a result, the songs can’t build or crescendo, can’t do anything but insist on their own meaningfulness. Their reach so far exceeds their grasp that all we can hear is the rift between their ambitions and their abilities. Theirs is only an arms’ length understanding of the music they profess to love. It’s no wonder they ended up in Brooklyn instead of soldiering on even deeper into America....full text
ContactmusicAlberta Cross will release their exceptional second album, Songs of Patience, on Ark Recordings on September 3rd, 2012. The album's anthemic opening track, Magnolia, previews the album as a single release on 7"/download on July 30th.
Alberta Cross are Petter Ericson Stakee (vocals/guitar) and Terry Wolfers (bass), a Swede and a Londoner with Brooklyn as their home. Having met in an East End pub seven years ago, when Wolfers saved a young and let's say "over-confident" Ericson Stakee from some angered locals, they have since embarked on what Ericson Stakee calls "a long and wild road". The success of their acclaimed 2009 debut, Broken Side Of Time, saw the band tour the world, criss-crossing America more times than they'd care to count, playing headline shows and festivals like Sasquatch and Bonnaroo, and earning the patronage of bands like Them Crooked Vultures, Oasis and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, with whom they toured.
The title of Songs of Patience is, though, in many ways, literal. Once touring for their debut was done, the band had headed to an old, abandoned house in the middle of nowhere near Woodstock, NY. There, they braved the freezing winter and embraced a sense of the building's haunted past to start working on ideas for a new record. But this record was to take a much longer, more winding road, as Petter Ericson Stakee explains:
"In the three years since the last album we relocated to Los Angeles, moved back to New York, returned to being a band with just two permanent members and have had at least five producers' hands on the album. I loved LA, but the combination of relocating and hitting the studio straight away made me spiral out of control. I reached a very dark place. I partied too hard, blew my newly-earned money and went home to Sweden. Once I hit rock bottom and plummeted back to the planet, I knew what I had to do. I moved back to Brooklyn and reformed my home there. And that's what Alberta Cross is, me and Terry, my cockney brother."...full text
RollingstoneAlberta Cross channels their rock roots on their new album, Songs of Patience, which will be released on July 17th. This will be the Brooklyn-via-Sweden and London-based duo's first full-length album in three years, and it reflects the evolution of their folk-rock sound.
From "Magnolia," an acoustic, Band of Horses-esque feel-good track that opens the album, to the gritty rumble that frames "Crate of Gold" and the wistful ballad "Bonfire," Songs of Patience is a trip though singer-songwriter-guitarist Petter Ericson Stakee's psyche, each note divulging more of his unique perception of the world around him.
A lot of the soul-searching that appears on the album may stem from the band's frequent relocation during the songwriting and recording process. Stakee and bassist Terry Wolfers started out in the extreme seclusion of an old house near Woodstock, took a trip cross-country to continue recording in L.A. and, after a brief visit to Stakee's hometown in Sweden, finally settled down in Brooklyn to finish the record. Stakee believes the twisted path he took to arrive at the finished product is its most defining feature....full text
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