This is the first Rural Alberta Advantage album that feels like they are a fully-formed band. While the first 2 albums, 2009's Hometowns and 2011's Departing, felt like they were a young band growing into their "sound," this record feels like the destination. The band has found their niche in the music world and they have crafted as close to a perfect version of that sound as I can imagine. A part of me misses the more hesitant, messier songwriting of their earlier output. I won't deny that impression of a young band trying to figure everything out was a factor in how deeply in love I fell with their music. Now that the novelty has worn off, The RAA have to stand on their own, and I'm happy to say that they're doing just fine.
The album kicks off with a couple of bangers. Our Love..., This City, and Terrified are loud, driving, and altogether spectacular songs. These are The RAA at their loud best. The album never gets quite that bombastic again, but that's okay because The RAA can also create beautiful quieter tunes as well. 45/33 and Vulcan, AB stand out as gorgeous songs. I single these tracks out, but just about every other song on this record is an achievement in one manner or another.
I won't delve into a track-by-track review of Mended with Gold. Like I said, I pretty much love them all. Instead, let me say that I listen to a lot of music and don't make recommendations lightly. I certainly don't take to this site to recommend something mediocre. When I say that this is absolutely an album you should not just stream on Spotify, but buy directly from the band for some old-fashioned cold hard cash, it means I really stand behind this music.
Did I mention this is a great "fall record"? It's perfect music for chilly fall evenings whether you're driving around surrounded by city lights or sitting at home, just getting away from it all. Get it now, seriously.