With a name like the Rural Alberta Advantage and a debut album called Hometowns, one would hope for an unpretentious collection of amiable indie pop tunes filtered through the wistful lens of a Wes Anderson film, and that's exactly what you get. Singer/songwriter Nils Edenloff, along with Amy Cole and Paul Banwatt, craft lovelorn postcards to small town heartache, beloved and embittered friends and family, blue collar hardships, and the great big world around them with the kind of wide-eyed gusto that's extremely effective when played in front of a hundred sweaty, dancing kids at a house show in somebody's rented basement, but dribbles out of a pair of headphones like a leaky faucet. All too often, that energy is lost when a talented young band like this enters the studio, and RAA do their best to transcend the limitations of their home recorded calling card, but that energy eating reaper follows Hometowns around like a cop car on a Saturday night. If there was an award for "Most likeable album of 2009", RAA would win by a landslide. Nice try. Can't wait to hear the next one.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger