If you want to get technical about things, this debut full-length from New Yorkers Alberta Cross doesn’t hit shelves ’til January 2010. But thanks to an early U.K. release date, the rollicking effort is an easy find, and well worth the import cost if you’re looking to go the non-digital route. Much like the now chart-topping Kings of Leon, this five-piece found early success across the pond, but it’s only a matter of time before their high-intensity guitar licks and riff-driven nods to classic American rock become a Stateside sensation. It also stands to mention that the band’s vocal stretches and yelps (courtesy of British-born frontman Petter Ericson Stakee) are some of the more unique I’ve seen this side of Jack White’s arrival.
“I was born in Sweden and lived in East London since I was really young,” explains Stakee. “When I lived in London, I listened to a lot of American music because you listen to the things that you haven’t got around, you know? When we were writing this album out, we were listening to American music, but a lot of English music as well. I got back into early Verve, stuff like that. I think this album is a mutual [mix] of British and American.”
Take, for example, the rambling guitars and warbly harmonies of “Lucy Rider,” which mixes Lennon’s lyrical sensibilities with a twangy palette of brushed drums and country-tinged chord progressions. Elsewhere, the breakdown on “Taking Control” moves from Travis-esque ambiance to a hard-hitting climax of drums and cymbals that sounds like it was pulled straight out of the Stadium Rocker’s Guidebook. (Just one of the many spots where Santa Barbara’s own Austin Beede shines behind Cross’s kit.)
While tracks like the hard-hitting “ATX” — replete with swaggering garage-rock deliveries and grinding guitar leads — leave the strongest first impressions, it’s sleeper numbers like the Ryan Adams-esque “Old Man Chicago” that best capitalize on Stakee’s oddly perfect bluesy inflections, and stick with you, harmonies and all, long after Broken Side of Time reaches its end.