Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quin describe the vibe of their Keane side project as country, and while it is awash in the richness of Rice- Oxley’s trademark melodies, Mt. Desolation is actually more Coldplay than Hank Williams. Nevertheless, some hallmarks of classic country music remain: lovely, haunting melodies, sweet harmonies, straightforward lyrics, acoustic timbres, and of course, the omnipresent root–5 country bass line. Although Andrew Lowe doesn’t get much space to stretch out, his upright and electric bass playing is eminently appropriate for the genre, and for this collection of wonderfully crafted, melody-driven songs. —BENJAMIN LEVINE
Sharlee D’angelo of Arch Enemy
I think it’s great actually that people are getting interested in musicianship as such again – especially the guitar players, you’d be amazed by how fast they are, and their technique and everything. And some of them, you give them a few more years and I think someone will probably come up with stuff even better. So I think it’s a good thing. People start out playing a lot of technical stuff and then after a while they’ll probably slow down a little bit and just use whatever musical abilities they have to go to the next level.