Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Indie Spotlight: The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns

The schizophrenic drumming of Paul Banwatt (also of Woodhands) is like a puzzle piece that is slightly misshapen so you shove it down with your thumb to make it fit. It should feel out of place in the mid tempo party-folk songs of The Rural Alberta Advantage, but it doesn't. Instead it shifts the feel of the songs into something erratic and epic, a foundation that is always moving.

This is no more evident than in Don't Haunt This Place where the drums take center stage, swirling around the vocal and getting in quick cymbal shots and jabs. His time is perfect as he plays quick rolls and off kilter patterns seldom heard on folk records. In Drain The Blood, Banwatt's hands are all over the place but his kick drum foot is locked in tight with the bass. When the chorus comes in he unleashes a succession of tom and snare rolls. His drumming takes on a more aggressive feel in Luciana, the cymbal swells and rolls have a high tempo psychedelic feel to them, and he keeps his kick drum pumping through the track.

The drumming on this record wouldn't be so notable if the songs weren't so damn awesome. once in a while Paul will take a lesser stance and let the songs really come through. In The Air he stays on track with a cool kick snare pattern while the keyboard and vocals take charge. All in all, Paul's patterns are a step out of the ordinary for this kind of record, the songs benefit from having someone play outside of the original frame of the piece. It doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but for the RAA it's a recipe for success.

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