LISTEN: Keane Side-Project Mt. Desolation

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Mt. Desolation: Tim Rice-Oxley & Jesse Quin
WRITTEN BY
Peter Gaston

Since breaking through in 2004 with their massive-selling debut Hopes and Fears, British piano rockers Keane have toured and recorded non-stop. But even with the band's busy schedule, keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley and bassist Jesse Quin found time to write a set of country-tinged rock songs, and they are releasing them this fall under the moniker Mt. Desolation. Hear the track "Bitter Pill" below.

The self-titled album, out Oct. 19, began as a bit of a joke, with Rice-Oxley and Quin casually tossing off booze-fueled, countrified tunes on days off from their tour in support of Keane's 2008 album, Perfect Symmetry.

"The whole thing began as a slightly silly idea, based on a drunken conversation, but we started writing the songs and played back the demos and started to realize it was more than a pastiche country album," Rice-Oxley tells SPIN.com. "We'd be selling ourselves short by not making sure this album got made."

The road proved to be a great place to write music. "Once you've been touring for awhile, days off can start feeling like wasted time, so it's nice to get out and make some music, instead of sitting inside, ordering room service, and watching crap TV," Rice-Oxley explains.

"Bitter Pill" was one of the first songs written for the Mt. Desolation project. "The song traces a story back through time to a young love affair, and someone going off to find better, more exciting things while dropping someone really harshly," Rice-Oxley says, "only to realize that what they wanted all along was there at home in their little town, with the person they started out with."

On the song, Rice-Oxley makes his debut as a lead singer. "For me and Jesse, that was the biggest challenge of all, to do the singing rather than hiding behind [Keane singer] Tom [Chaplin]," he says.

Listen to "Bitter Pill" and tell us what you think in the comments section. You can currently purchase the track, as well -- see the links below.

LISTEN: Mt. Desolation, "Bitter Pill"

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