The terms "metal," "rock," "blues" and "roots" don't say much individually any more, but string them all together and you start to get an idea of what Britain-by-way-of-New York band Alberta Cross sounds like.
With co-captains Petter Ericson Stakee (vox/guitar) and Terry Wolfers (songwriting/bass) at the helm, Alberta Cross' full-length Broken Side of Time (ATO Records) will likely steer the band to the forefront of epic music that bridges the gap between a classic sound and something brand new just over the horizon. Think a very grown-up Wolfmother.
Guided by the band and producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Dead Confederate, Heartless Bastards), keening guitar soars across chugging rhythms, building like a tidal wave. But often, just as a song feels like it's about to crest, everything halts, white space and pared-down vocals pulling everything under into a blue melancholy.
There's an anxious quality to songs like "ATX" as Stakee pleads, "I just want to feel / cause I just can't relate." Eerie standout "Rise From the Shadows" takes a sharp leeward turn, Stakee asking over and over, "Can you feel it?" His forlorn falsetto chorus of "Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-wooh-ooh" blows through the song like sand through a sunken ship on the sea floor. In several of the album's tracks, even the happiest of instruments, the tambourine, sounds haunting.
Alberta Cross has been compared to Kings of Leon, has played with Them Crooked Vultures and has been featured at New York City's CMJ festival and at the Austin City Limits festival, but Broken Side of Time will likely be what launches the band into the American music mainstream. This performance is their only Boise stop.
Thursday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m., FREE, Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho St., therecordexchange.com.