"Legends of Sam Marco"

(Ernest Jenning Record Co. 2009)Albertans - Legends of Sam Marco

Indie rockers The Albertans aren’t exactly hamming it up in an effort to garner attention. With their quiet melodies, understated delivery and a real lack of bells and whistles, their album “Legends of Sam Marco” is utterly lacking in pretension. However, it’s also lacking in excitement. The album inspires no grand adrenaline rush although from time to time the band does get pretty close to increasing your heart beat, driving you into a frenzy with their checked enthusiasm.

On “I Want You,” the female voice whispering the song’s title over and over is matched with barely there instrumentation that couldn’t get any simpler while closing track “The Bright Side” shows more depth, carefully constructing the music amidst crashing cymbals and pattering percussion. Frontman Joel Bravo almost gives himself the permission to lose himself, his vocals finding great strength, on “Anna Rose” as the band shows spirit and energy on one of the album’s best tracks. “Sam Marco” layers delicate vocals before finding some rootsy Americana get up and go.

The Albertans’ strength lies in their delicate vocals and modest arrangements. It’s charming and it’s almost enough to win you over. The problem is, they’re so good at it that you never really notice. The Albertans never break out on “Legends of Sam Marco” with something to grab your attention, seemingly happier to fly under the radar with a loosely regurgitated blend of sugary indie rock with ‘60s electrified folk, like a toned-down Polyphonic Spree meets the Decemberists. But for a band that’s really a collective of rotating cast members, there’s nothing terribly dramatic or spontaneous about The Albertans’ “Legends of Sam Marco.”


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