Noise 101 – CD Reviews for March 24
Hello Bella’s full-length and most recent album Echoes of the Atmosphere is propelled by electrifying guitar melodies and skilful drumming, both of which work together to give a glamourous power-pop feel to Ontario native Stephanie Poort’s elegant and dynamic solo vocals. The versatility and power of Poort’s voice evokes for a listener the various female songstress manifestos sung by her contemporaries, those of artists like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Leona Lewis. This is especially noticeable in the band’s single “Stand” which combines undeniably catchy guitar licks and dance-inspired electronic sounds used to frame Poort and cohort Nic Malara’s lyrics. Though the band’s instrumental creativity gives immense presence to Poort’s pitch perfect voice, lyrically the album lends itself too often to overly consistent rhyming and generic topics. Though Echoes doesn’t possess any sophisticated wordplay it makes up for its lack of poetry with infectious and sweet pop harmonies and strong guitar accompaniments layered within each of its tracks.
— Therese Schultz
The Rural Alberta Advantage has returned to the grand lonely prairies in their second album, Departing. The follow-up to 2008’s Hometowns delivers more of the same heartbroken, gritty backwater songs. Nils Edenloff has toned down his shrieking vocals, while still remaining delightfully out-of-tune. He’s nasal as ever, but in a hopeless, charming kind of way.
There is no grab-you-by-the-throat starting song like Hometowns had with its Ballad of the RAA, but you may well find yourself humming the new starter “Two Lovers” days later.
The album doesn’t really pick up until track six, with satisfying railway-clatter drums and ethereal keyboard making “Stamp” the obvious choice for a clever music video. Indeed, the Rolling Stone or vimeo link reveals a must-watch video of self-referential subtitled humour that embraces a favourite concept of the RAA: unrequited love.
Special attention should be given to the album art on Departing. The austere wasteland of a frozen highway perfectly sums up what the RAA is all about. They are stories of your childhood in the prairies, cold and miserable, but still glorious.
— Edward Osborne
Mother Mother’s third studio album, Eureka, may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The style is a continuation of what they started in Touch Up, and expanded upon with O My Heart. However, if you’re able to detach yourself from what you understand Mother Mother music to be, the album heard as a standalone is excellent and extremely catchy.
Many tracks have the same addictive lyrics that the first two albums generated, but they’re infused with new beats and intricate harmonies. Eureka combines several stylistic elements and instruments such as steel guitars, electronic beats, and strings. That’s the fun of the quartet from Vancouver: they’re not afraid to experiment with their sound, which could confuse or dishearten some diehard fans of the first album. But Eureka is a triumphant release from a band that never fails to entertain.
— Kylie Robertson