This lustrous third studio outing from Sydney-raised Karen Craigie, sees the master songwriter step out of the shadows bathed in a warm and winning glow. It’s an album veined with compassion and brimming with keen, hard-won insights into life and love. Produced by the incomparable Matt Fell, Mountains is a glorious showcase of Craigie’s deft turns of phrase, winning vocal delivery, and knack for landing an irresistible hook (freewheeling breeze ‘Bottom Line’). Opener ‘Little Heartbreaker’ is a roots-rock jaunt with a defiant twang; there’s a heartworn acoustic meditation on a breakup half-managed in ‘Kill Me Now’, a swaying hymn to resignation in the heartworn title track, and a raw alt. country highlight in ‘High’. With its understated Mexicali rhythm ‘Happy Ending’ swirls with dramatic feeling, while ‘Lonely Town’ is a sweet, earthy ramble. Aligning Craigie with peers from Small Town Romance to Halfway, Mountains of Gold is a study in alt. country sensibility wedded to intoxicating pop heart. Gareth Hipwell