Brimming with bittersweetness and fraught with vocal hooks that walk the line between existential Americana and ethereal classic rock

Alberta Cross
Songs of Patience
ATO Records

If you’re looking for an album brimming with bittersweetness and fraught with vocal hooks that walk the line between existential Americana and ethereal classic rock, check out the fifth release from New York’s Alberta Cross. Despite the masterfully captured acoustic rhythm beds (“Bonfires”), weeping octave leads (“Lay Down”), perfectly bristling power chords (“Crate of Gold”), wailing double-stops (“Wasteland”), and fuzzy bass swagger (“Money for the Weekend”), Patience is not a guitar record.

Far better, core members Petter Ericson Stakee (vocals, guitar) and Terry Wolfers (bass, vocals) prioritize vibey orchestrations—deft blends of hazy Mellotron, quasi-gospel choirs, plaintive piano, and huge-sounding drums—over any sort of instrumental spotlight hogging. Stakee’s slightly nasal falsetto is at once distinctive and evocative of bygone golden eras—it’s one of the most unique voices I’ve heard in some time—and the tones, guitar and otherwise, are delicious across all 10 cuts. —Shawn Hammond

Must-hear tracks: “Ophelia on My Mind,” “I Believe in Everything”

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