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Alberta Cross – Broken Side of Time

You know how arty, pretentious people like to decry their former heroes as soon as they hit the big time? Suddenly it seems that they can’t admit to liking something because it is popular, and that erodes at its coolness. Well, I have similar feelings about the Kings Of Leon. However much I try to avoid the phrase “not as good as they were back in the day”, I can’t avoid it. The last few KOL albums (Only by the Night and Come Around Sundown) are complete crap compared to their early work.

Where I think I can save myself from being too wanky, though, is that their popularity (these were the two albums that really ‘hit the big time’) had little to do with my opinion of them. Sure, the omnipresence of Sex On Fire and that horrific dance cover of Use Somebody was annoying, but the fact remained that the only song on either album that was a patch on their earlier work was OBTN opening track Closer. I dislike their modern work for the simple reason that it is distinctly average. But enough about them…

Anglo-Swedish-American band Alberta Cross are often compared to the Kings Of Leon’s formative albums, in addition to the likes of My Morning Jacket and Neil Young. They fit snugly into the category of folk-rock that saw the Followill brothers catapault themselves onto our radar all those years ago. Interestingly, as the Kings of Leon commercialised their sound, Alberta Cross started releasing material, and very impressive it was too. Debut LP (following two decent EPs) Broken Side of Time is a wonderful album. Varied, exciting and infectious, it is the perfect listen for those of us who hark back to the days of Youth and Young Manhood.

From the crunching slide-guitar rock of ATX (below) to the chilling crescendo blues of Rise From The Shadows, it’s a superb album and one that hopefully bodes well for the future of the band. A great live draw too, you should catch them if you can.

by Harry Harland