The Albertans's Dangerous Anything get dark, dramatic, and a little unnerving
Dangerous Anything (Ernest Jenning Record Co.)
Those with a taste for glossy digital perfection and instantly gratifying choruses might be turned off by Dangerous Anything, the third album from the Albertans. The band’s press materials boast that the four musicians—who are based in Vancouver, despite what their moniker might imply—have an affection for analogue synthesizers that date back to the early ’80s. This vintage aesthetic shines through in the disc’s brilliantly wonky electronics and sprawling soundscapes.
Take “Casual Encounters”, a chiming dream-pop cut given an undercurrent of dissonance by queasy arpeggios that warble ever so slightly out of tune. The prettiness of the feathery vocal melody is further undermined by a pair of ominous instrumental breaks, which are full of off-kilter rhythms and stormy synth blasts.
The brief “Invisible Fortress” ups the tension even further, as a sludgy barrage of nightmarishly distorted riffs is flecked with eerie keys. Elsewhere, the bass-driven grooves of “Begin the Beguin” and “Waterbeds” are less overtly freaky, although the echoing guitar textures display a similar devotion to anything-goes sonic experimentation.
The full scope of the Albertans’ ambitious vision is captured by the eight-minute closer, “Black Moon”, which shrouds desolate-sounding guitar chimes and low-mixed vocals in a thick fog of amorphous ambiance; the track eventually provides catharsis when the arrangement swells towards a cinematic crescendo. It’s dark, dramatic, and a little unnerving, and that’s exactly what makes Dangerous Anything so hypnotically immersive.