Last years best albums countdown

# 3. Alberta Cross - The Thief & the Heartbreaker (Fiction Records)

Every once in a while something new hits you and leaves you standing there gasping for air. This Alberta Cross EP did just that. I got the same feeling from last year's Band of Horses debut. Alberta Cross is a band, currently living in London, England but from the sound of this remarkable debut you would have thought that they were born and raised somewhere in the US of A. Clearly in debt to early seventies records from the likes of Neil Young and the Band. The Thief & the Heartbreaker isn't a full length effort but rather a mini-album. That may be a definition question though. It's almost the same length as the Josh Rouse album listed earlier in this countdown. The length of the album isn't what's important anyway. The songs are important and my oh my the songs on this one.

All of the album's seven songs are some of the best songs I heard all last year. My personal favourites are the second song "Lucy Rider" and the extraordinary gospel-tinged closer "The Devil's All You Ever Had". That song is one of those that you can put on your stereo and it will change your day or even life. It has that special thing that's impossible to explain, it just does something to your mood. Maybe it's soothing or comforting or something like that. I don't know just what it is, but it surely can make a bad day turn good.

I hope Alberta Cross can get the same media attention and following that bands like My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses have gotten the last few years. The reason I mention those bands is simply that's the easiest way to explain what Alberta Cross sounds like.

Please check this one out, I promise you won't regret it.