The Thief And The Heartbreaker – Alberta Cross

Label: Ark Recordings

The last set of Londoners we came across that sounded this out of place in urban English surroundings and whose coordinates, surely intended for just south of Nashville, TN, were obviously keyed in error by whoever deals with band distribution in the big control room upstairs (celestial mistakes, we ascertain, must happen from time to time), were Absentee and their 2006 mini album ‘Donkey Stock’. Of course they actually turned out to be delightfully confused, light-headed post-Britpop kids wandering off-course, and in fact quite dependent on their home roots. With Alberta Cross and their debut mini album ‘The Thief & The Heartbreaker’ things are quite different though, and not just because one of the principal components is a Swede, there seems to be very little danger of subsequent misidentification taking place.

This is alt-country through to the core and back out to its sun-baked shell, too wholeheartedly crafted to be considered a flight of fancy, the kind of thing that could be arrested on suspicion of rooting through Ryan Adams’ trash cans in search of credit card statements and other useful discarded personal details. Their heart really is thousands of miles away and their heads in the clouds hunting for it. Each one of these seven tracks are awash with the atmospheric quality of great sweeping expanses, setting suns and the haze of the warm, reflective nature of early evening. Petter Ericson Stakee’s creakingly tender vocals are a powerful and convincing tool, even evoking the immense reach of Jeff Buckley on the penance gospel of ‘The Devil’s All You Ever Had’. And the title track and the slow-burning ‘Low Man’ might be softer, reminding of Mojave 3, Bright Eyes or Mazzy Star, but no less effective. Perfectly formed.

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Release: Alberta Cross - The Thief And The Heartbreaker
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Released: 29 October 2008