In the two years since Dave Benton’s Trace Mountains released its debut, A Partner To Lean On, his life changed. Those changes include multiple big events that can completely alter your course such as the dissolution of his main band, LVL UP, which he co-founded in college, and a move to Kingston, New York. The definite upside of this situational shift is Trace Mountains’ sophomore record, Lost In The Country. As Benton said the album was composed during-but not directly inspired by-this transition but I think after checking this record out you will hear how his reflection time impacted the thoughtful songwriting here.
The album delivers ten songs of lo-fi goodness that offers exemplary songwriting and a voice that hits you like a soft wave with some comparisons to Kurt Vile and Tobin Sprout. You will hear this tone throughout the album but are introduced to it right from the beginning on “Rock & Roll,” which finds a person getting lost in their viewpoint all while the music pleasantly foot taps along and then gracefully picks up the tempo even more near the end that has a War On Drugs vibe. On a few of the slower tracks, like “Dog Country” and “Absurdity,” I would give Trace Mountains a liking to the style of Sam Beam’s Iron & Wine which is memorable as Benton draws you into the lyrics.
One big thing to know about Lost In The Country is that calling it a solo effort would not give an accurate picture as Benton collaborated with his LVL UP band mates and other talented artist that supplied background vocals, guitar, lap steel, and synthesizers. This gives the record and Trace Mountains a full band sound that you will remember as Benton’s soft vocals may be the initial draw but the final product of everybody working together is why you will stay and press repeat once Lost In The Country ends. This is a solid record that honestly just gets better with every spin!
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde