After the winsome summer of their 2008 debut Hometowns (QRO review), The Rural Alberta Advantage put their name on the Canadian alt-folk map with 2010 follow-up Departing (QRO review), a record that cried out with exquisite loss. Of course, that left the group with a lot to live up to, and they took their sweet time doing it. However, that’s resulted in the sweet Mended With Gold, which goes for exquisite uplift.
With a name including ‘Rural’, one would naturally expect RAA to be stripped acoustic folk, and they had done a lot of that, but with Gold the group brings more instrumentation for country-rock. The record also goes decidedly for the brighter side of things, though after the rain of Departing, making for a very effective emotional upsurge on such tracks as “This City”, “On the Rocks”, “All We’ve Ever Known”, and opener/closer “Our Love…” & “…On the Run”. There is some other outlooks leavened in, like the slower regret of “To Be Scared”, or the glowing “Vulcan, AB”, but this is an uplifting record.
After the monumental impress of Departing, The Rural Alberta Advantage couldn’t take anyone by surprise this time, and the upbeat nature of Mended With Gold doesn’t have quite as rich an emotional vein to mine as the downbeat Departing did. But it’s still Gold.