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Album Review: Alberta Burning

I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing Your Neck Of The Woods live about a half dozen times over the past couple of years, so to be asked (I was going to do it anyway) to review their first full length album, Alberta Burning, for them is great for both of us. The album was released at the band’s favourite watering hole, Jimmy Jazz, at a sold out event on March 30, 2012.

Alberta Burning opens with Prairie Ontario. A song that you would almost expect to hear on any one of Canada’s great East Coast bands albums but the lyrics switched around to celebrate their home province. As a song, Prairie Ontario has all the foot stomping energy that YNOTW bring to all of their live shows. Some might say that Alberta Burning as a whole sounds slightly under produced. I would disagree. In a day and age where everything could be perfectly mastered digitally, it’s nice to hear an album that sounds professional, without sounding mechanical, matching their brand of alt-Country perfectly. Dare I say the production imperfections make it sound better, adding a great human sounding element. I want this album on vinyl (hint, hint), all it’s missing is the odd crackle or hiss from an old turntable.

Speaking of which, I love an album that you can listen to start to finish. This is one of those albums. At just over 41 minutes long Alberta Burning is the perfect length. The album starts off fun and upbeat gradually slowing right down in the middle with the heartfelt ballad Wintry Heart. The next song, Cabin In The Woods, almost had me thinking it was another ballad but gets counted in at the 45 second mark to be a great transition into on of my favourite tracks on the album which sets up the largest sounding song on the album, Liar. If you’re a band reading this, and are putting out a full length LP, remember, song order is important. Although some songs aren’t as strong as others on Alberta Burning, every song is an important piece of the experience, taking you up and down in waves of tempo, fun, intensity and vulnerability.

Alberta Burning, and YNOTW for that matter, have something to offer any listener. Clever lyric writing, songwriting maturity, a well balanced album, vocal harmonies to rival Fleetwood Mac and a fun and energetic live show. With all this going for them I look forward to more great things from Your Neck Of The Woods.

Key tracks: Sleepwalking, Alberta Burning, Cabin In The Woods, Liar

Your Neck Of The Woods – Playing Van Gogh’s Ear, Guelph, June 23rd.

Booking – YourNeckOfTheWoods@Live.ca

Buy Alberta Burning – hard copy CD Universe, download iTunesemusic.

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