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Once in a while a great band comes along who sound nothing like anything else that’s going on around them. On hearing “The Thief & The Heartbreaker”, it might surprise you to find out that song-writing partners Petter Ericson Stakee & Terry Wolfers brought Alberta Cross to life in London’s East End.
“The Thief & The Heartbreaker” is Alberta Cross’ self-produced debut, a collection of 7 heart-broke tales that sound as fresh as they do timeless, while introducing us to the arrestingly plaintive and distinctive vocals of Petter Ericson Stakee and an accomplished band completed by Terry Wolfers, Petter’s brother John Alexander Ericson (a solo artist in his own right) on organ and Seb Sternberg on drums.
Petter grew up listening to folk and blues, traveling from an early age with his singer-songwriter father between Sweden and England before settling in London 7 years ago. In stark contrast, Terry Wolfers spent his formative years in the urban landscape and terraced houses of grey North East London. But even with such different backgrounds, they separately developed a love of almost identical records from a young age. It was these albums - rootsy gospel, blues and soul and classics such as The Band, Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen – that they bonded over in the smoky poorly lit boozers of London’s East End. They instantly clicked as song-writing partners, adding a contemporary take on these seminal influences that invokes elements of The White Stripes and The Shins. The result is a sound that is inspired by Laurel Canyon circa 1969 but shaped by East London 2007.
“We do this or we don’t do anything,” says Terry of their desire to get their music out. “You do feel pressure to get a career started. That’s when your life is really going to begin.” Petter elaborates about the need to “Knuckle down and make the band fantastic. It’s a battle against weak verses and big choruses and we want to make classic albums, not albums with four singles and a bunch of fillers”.
They’re not trying to be different, they just are different. And very special. This is just the beginning of the Alberta Cross story