The Deal: New York-based rockers Alberta Cross get wide distribution of debut album, months after limited release.
The Good: As the first words tear into the speakers, you might think you're listening to a new Neil Young album: acoustic music with slight falsetto sprinkled over the top. By the time the feedback kicks in at the end of the song, you're pretty damn sure it's Young. But there's something different. It's got a different energy. The second song loses that Young vibe, but keeps the energy going. A rock heartbeat swelling throughout. Pained lyrics whose emotions rip into the listener – "I just wanna feel, 'cause I just can't relate" from "ATX" and "I just wanna live, is that a crime?" from "Song Three Blues." The band finds solid footing in a balance between folk and rock that's got roots in the 1960s and '70s without sounding dated. "Old Man Chicago" is the perfect example of that as it teeters between the two. The riff on "Broken Side of Time" builds into something close to Rage Against the Machine without becoming overpowering.
The Bad: Maybe sounding too much like Young could be a bad thing, but these guys are forging their own path through that inspiration.
The Verdict: I remember seeing them at Bonnaroo last year and liking them – then they fell off my radar. Needless to say, this album has put them firmly back into my playlist.