The Rural Alberta Advantage

8 p.m. Wednesday, December 9. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.


21-plus: $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Under 21: $10 advance, $12 day of show. 314-773-3363.

The Rural Alberta Advantage was regarded as one of the best unsigned bands in Canada before indie giant Saddle Creek Records signed the group and re-released its debut album, Hometowns, earlier this year. The trio's whimsical blend of emotive indie-folk and woozy synth layers at times feels like a distorted mirror image of the vibe created by Neutral Milk Hotel's heart-on-sleeve song cycles. But RAA sets itself apart sonically with the incorporation of propulsive, in-your-face drumbeats and a nostalgic sense of longing for the wide-open spaces of home. "Don't Haunt This Place," for instance, combines spastic drumming with melancholy brushstrokes of lonely cello and a bed of dark, ambient keyboards. These unlikely combinations keep Hometowns from getting stuck in the mud of the Canadian countryside it so tenderly romanticizes.