Broken Side Of Time
With Oasis split, Kings Of Leon’s currency falling after Caleb Followill’s onstage strop at Reading and Fleet Foxes not really interested in becoming a proper mainstream concern, some new retro rockers are required to capture nostalgic, slightly boozy hearts - Kasabian can’t be left to do it alone.
Many festival crowds have already benefited from the dreamy shimmer of ‘Taking Control’ by Alberta Cross washing clean their hangovers, and there’s plenty on their debut album, ‘Broken Side Of Time’, to suggest they could have a few ‘new favourite band’ tags stuck on them soon.
The loose classic rock of ‘Song 3Three Blues’ and the driving psyche on ‘ATX’ have a swagger to them akin to Ian Brown or Tom and Serge from Kasabian, rather than Liam Gallagher’s pseudo-hard persona. While the soulful ‘Old Man Chicago’, the catchiest tune here, has the sing-a-long chorus (“They were millions and we were just one”), compelling characters and warmth to make a sterile arena feel friendly.
But while on those songs, the dark soul-rock of ‘Leave Us And Forgive Us’ and a re-recorded version of ‘The Thief & The Heartbreaker’ from the folksy EP of the same name, Alberta Cross can sound rural and rootsy, they actually divide their time between New York and London and tracks are often laced with the frazzled exhaustion of people living in hectic urban places. On ‘The Ghost Of City Life’, the album’s world-weary, acoustic closer, especially. Singer Petter Ericson Stakee sounds like a man who longs for something else but is tired of the longing. His high-pitched voice is similar but less palatable than Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold’s, and lends itself well to mixed emotions.
He cuts through the darker, heavier title track with wails and wordless cries as threatening omens spiral into each other. Then on the album’s magnificent centrepiece, ‘Rise From The Shadows’, Stakee’s skirts over a slowed down big beat and funky bassline. It’s similar to one of Noel Gallagher’s collaborations with The Chemical Brothers, except without a discernible chorus and a sinking feeling rather than the Chem’s euphoria. ‘Rise From The Shadows’, like most of ‘Broken Side Of Time’, sounds like the kind of record Noel said Oasis would make in countless interviews but never did, while newbies like Alberta Cross overtook them.