On Second Thought: Alberta Cross – Songs of Patience (2012)

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Alberta Cross are a Swedish/English duo based in New York, and formed in 2005 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Petter Ericson Stakee and bassist Terry Wolfers. After supporting bands such as Them Crooked Vultures, Oasis, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Shins, they made a name for themselves.

Singer and guitarist Petter Ericson Stakee was born in Uppsala, Sweden and travelled a lot around the world with his father while growing up. The English-born bassist Terry Wolfers and Stakee formed this duo whose music is a mixture of blues, country, and southern rock presented with English music style.

After three years after Broken Side of Time, Alberta Cross returned with Songs of Patience, and this follow up stripped away the dead weight — showing a sense of absolution that the two had been needing for a while. The opening track “Magnolia” set the tone, bringing out a more progressive nature compared to their older sound. “Crate Of Gold” and “Money For The Weekend” had the grit and stadium sound with lyrics to match.

But this sort of paint-by-numbers approach only works on an individual level. With its brooding atmospherics and hummable melody, a track like “Lay Down” might stand out within a playlist on your iPod, but when it’s followed by the same sort of rigid structure that reigns in the sweeping melancholy of “Come On Maker” or the wounded release of “I Believe In Everything,” it becomes another pleasurable, yet easily forgettable performance instead.

If all this makes the music seem familiar, it should — though that is hardly a criticism. With Songs of Patience, Alberta Cross built an impressive musical library. In literary terms, this album was less of a novel and more of a short story collection. Assembled over the course of thirty six months — a time during which Alberta Cross were at a crossroads, attempting to figure out who they were as a band — Songs of Patience could’ve been a complete train wreck. Instead, it emerged as the successful end of a long journey instead.

Overall, it’s an honest piece of work from the band. The album was very reminesent of Band Of Horses or Alabama Shakes, yet the difference between Alberta Cross and those bands is that they take on folk-rock from a far more worldly perspective.

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Mike Dostert

Mike Dostert

Luxembourg resident Mike Dostert has written about music for more than two decades, with work appearing in a local newspaper, via his own independent music magazine and at the web sites www.music-brain.com and lux-culture.jimdo.com. He has also worked for 20 years as a DJ and radio host. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mike Dostert
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