What do you get when you mix one Nashville outsider, one English drummer, and three superb musicians hailing from the most isolated city on earth—a pretty damn good band, that’s what. Three continents converging into one post-colonial powerhouse, taking their name from an obscure mountain range in northern Africa, the Perth, Western Australia-based indie-rock band, the Atlas Mountains, are starting to gain a lot of attention, on both sides of the equator. ‘Doves meets Drones could be an appropriate epithet here,’ declared taste-making Triple J radio announcer Vijay Khurana. ‘A wild and weary sound and a voice that paces in cramped circles, over and over. Beautiful.’
Over the past three years, the lads have developed a reputation for their powerful, sweat-soaked live performances around Perth and Fremantle, and have slowly built up a small, but cultishly-devoted following on the internet.
But it hasn’t all been fun and games for The Atlas Mountains. Death, substance abuse, arrests, and financial hardship have all been woven into the fabric of the history surrounding this relatively well-mannered band.
‘We’ve been through a lot as a band,’ says Smith. ‘There’s a line in Steve Earle’s song, (Tom Ames’ Prayer) that’s become a bit of a mantra for me. I ain’t askin’ for a miracle, Lord/ Just a little bit of luck would do…’
A little bit of luck would do, especially now, with the band on the cusp of releasing their spectacular sophomore LP, ‘A Splendid Diagnosis,’ (Recorded at Loop Studios in Perth, by James Newhouse and Kieran Kenderessy, and mastered by William Bowden, at King Willy Studios, in Sydney). On March 15, 2011, Smith was forced to return to America, after being unable to renew his work visa in time, leaving an air of confusion for this up and coming band. But the band that plays together (and lives together and eats together and drives around on revoked licenses together) stays together. And The Mountains have now digitally released A Splendid Diagnosis.
‘We’ve come too far to stop now,’ says Smith. ‘We’ve poured our hearts, our lives, and our paychecks into making this record—and we’ve been through so much as a band. The music just keeps getting better and better. And besides, these guys are my brothers. It’s that simple.’
An entire ocean currently separates the Mountains, but this multicultural quintet is not phased by geography. From the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, to Nottingham Forrest, to the coast of the Indian Ocean; this is a band formed from all corners of the world, and a band ready to conquer all places in between.