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'Tis the season for country-themed side projects. Just a few weeks before Mt. Desolation's release, Tired Pony -- another indie rock supergroup with rootsy inclinations -- issued their own debut. What was billed as a country album turned out to be little more than standard pop
ock, though, which makes Mt. Desolation's debut -- recorded by a loose group of British musicians, with Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quin serving as co-captains -- all the more charming. The best songs here sound like genuine Americana, not pop songs dressed up in acoustic guitars and cowboy shirts, and even the filler material has a cohesion that's rare for most first-time supergroups. "The Midnight Ghost," with its barroom ambience and harmony vocals, is a woozy Western ballad that takes its cues from Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, while "Platform 7" -- featuring the Killers' Ronnie Vannucci on percussion -- is bar band country-rock, filled with all the twangy trimmings that the Killers attempted (with mixed results) on Sam's Town. Both of those highlights are pushed toward the back end of Mt. Desolation, and while that makes the album a tad bottom-heavy, it also means the track list doesn't lose steam as it moves into its second half. Side projects with revolving lineups often result in scattered, hit-or-miss albums, but Mt. Desolation seems to be the exception.
Performance CreditsMt. Desolation Primary Artist
John Roderick Electric Guitar,Tambourine,Background Vocals,Guitar (Tenor)
Tim Rice-Oxley Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Harmonium,Harpsichord,Hammond Organ,Theremin,Vocals,Melodica,Mellotron,Vibes
Ronnie Vannucci Acoustic Guitar,Percussion
Ryann Donnelly Background Vocals
Jesse Quin Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Harmonica,Percussion,Celeste,Glockenspiel,Electric Guitar,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Omnichord,Wurlitzer
Charity Quin Background Vocals
Tom Hobden Violin
Country Winston Banjo
François Deville Pedal Steel Guitar
Pete Roe Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Piano,Harmonium,Hammond Organ,Background Vocals,farfisa organ
Jessica Staveley-Taylor Vocals,Background Vocals
Andrew Lowe Electric Bass,Double Bass
Jayne Rice Oxley Background Vocals
Technical CreditsEmery Dobyns Producer,Engineer
Jesse Quin Tape Delays
Adam Tudhope Management
Beth Louise Warren Assistant Management