Local rock quartet Desert Noises are one of a few Provo bands getting major attention recently. Their new album “Mountain Sea” is a bold, self-assured release that will surely keep that attention coming.
Full of roller coaster melodies, blossoming choruses and miles of reverb, “Mountain Sea” has a remarkably defined sound. These guys know their formula and embrace it. But Desert Noises aren’t a one-trick pony. They mix up their dynamics enough to keep the listener engaged, while anchoring it all in their strong points.
“Highway Cars,” the album’s opening track, sounds like a Band Of Horses/Kings Of Leon mashup — and the album will draw inevitable comparisons to the former. For the most part, though, it sounds more like inspiration than imitation. The distinguishing feature here is Desert Noises’ ability to lock into a danceable groove. The album’s rhythmic, funky moments are its best, none better than “Where I Go.” The song layers some seriously groovy instrumentals underneath Kyle Henderson’s sun-parched vocals as it spirals into a torrent of torment, ending the album on a bang.
Henderson’s superb melodies really propel “Mountain Sea.” For all his vocal talent, though, Desert Noises also have so much potential instrumentally, and that potential constantly peeks through here. The best bands get their instrumentals and vocals to propel each other, and on “Mountain Sea,” Desert Noises sound like they’re on the verge of nailing down that synchronization. Maybe it’s just a matter of the band collectively catching up with a really talented vocalist. Whatever the case, it sounds like they’ll get there soon.
“Mountain Sea” also has some great quieter moments. “Smoke Breathing Monsters,” with its bare acoustic intro and lyrics (“I dive into the swamp, only to find that it’s the night sky / I fall off the moon, I think it was late July”), hits just the right pensive note.
The best part of “Mountain Sea” is its resiliency over repeated listens. While it seems like a good album at first, that perception shifts to really good, then to great. So give it some time, and discover what all the fuss is about.
- Artist: Desert Noises
- Album: Mountain Sea
- Grade: A-
- Sounds like: Band Of Horses meets Alberta Cross
- Best Tracks: “Up The Mountain,” “Smoke Breathing Monsters,” “Where I Go”