You may not know the name Mt. Desolation but the chances are you’ll be aware of its members’ previous work. The band is the new side project of Keane’s songwriter/keyboard player Tim Rice-Oxley and the band’s session bassist Jesse Quin, together with a group of friends including members of Mumford and Sons, the Killers, the Long Winters and Noah and the Whale. The duo decided they wanted to take a stab at making a country album, the results of which can be heard on their self titled debut.
Opening track ‘Departure’ is an up-tempo and decidedly optimistic track made memorable by Rice-Oxley’s commanding vocals and some rousing banjo and fiddle playing. Mt. Desolation isn’t all about energetic hoedowns however and some of the album’s best moments come in the form of the more stripped down and delicate tracks, such as the sparse ‘State of Our Affairs’ and ‘Another Night On My Side’ where Jessica Stavely Taylor lends her soothingly soft vocals to a romantic duet with Quin.
If you’re not a Keane fan don’t let it stop you from giving this album a listen, as these ten tracks show that Oxley and Quin have a lot more to offer than indie pop anthems. Mt. Desolation is an accomplished alt country release from perhaps the most unlikely of sources.