Mt. Desolation: Mt. Desolation

Mt. Desolation: Mt. Desolation
Looking through Amazon, I was a little surprised to see Mt. Desolation had one of the top pre-sale albums for October 19th. I think I was mostly surprised because I had never heard of Mt. Desolation before. But once I researched the band, it all started to make sense. Mt. Desolation is actually comprised of Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quin of Keane. On their debut album, the duo employs musicians from such high powered acts as The Killers, The Long Winters, Mumford and Sons, and Noah and the Whale.
Because of all the extra musicians, Mt. Desolation does not follow Keane’s post-britpop/synthrock format. The band instead dabbles in alt-country with some soft rock hints. The album opens with “Departure” which sounds vaguely like The Shins‘ “New Slang”. The tracks driving alt-country beat is accentuate by oompa bass line while the hokey piano and light guitar add to the old West feel of the song. The track sets the tone for the album.
While most of the album is mired in mid-tempo alt-country, my favorite track “Platform 7” picks up the energy level. The track is buried towards the back of the album but it delivers the closest sound to the ultimate alt-country band, The Old 97s. The track, also, stands out because it is one of the few tracks on the album that features male/female dueling vocals.
But for the alt-country fare presented on the album, a more traditional Keane sound does sneak on the album occasionally. The album’s first single, “Bitter Pill” might have well been the new Keane single. The track’s piano-driven minor tone and little to no esoteric country instrumentation makes the track feel a bit out of place on the self-titled debut. The track is ultimately not bad, but it just feels like it does not belong.
In the end, Mt. Desolation’s debut album feels a little one note. With the exception of “Platform 7”, all the tracks deliver the same energy level. An album full of mid-tempo ballads can only be so stimulating; after 45 minutes of it, it gets pretty old.
Rating: 4.3/10
MP3: Mt. Desolation “Platform 7”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!