"...unlike the typical indie-rock subject matter, this album isn’t just about love, it’s about being lost in a desolate, alien world. His words really stand out when it comes to the album’s (literal) geography – it’s fascinating to hear music written about – and in – Siberia. You really feel like you’re on the train from Moscow to the Urals at points in this album. It’s sincere, and surprisingly mature for a first album. It’s also a refreshing break from the typical “I’m lost in my mid-twenties in a major American city” or maybe at most “I had a great road trip” that seems to occupy a disproportionate space in the minds of today’s songwriters.
“The results are great for a debut release. It has a raw enough feel to give it that live sound that over polished production ruins. The six piece band create a great sound that will appeal to many who enjoy the American Roots/Indie folk crossover and we think they’re a band to watch out for!”
“A lot of times albums with epic backstories get dragged down by the constant focus on where the music was made and not how or why (see: Bon Iver). Other times, referencing a backstory, while potentially interesting, has nothing to do with how the album was shaped or conceived. Daniel Sheron's story is both interesting and clearly relevant to the often sparse, dark, and heavy folk he creates as Balto.”
“With road worn lyrics and heart warming melodies, double basses, mandolins, banjos, harmonicas, and accordions, it’s safe to call this Americana/folk/folk-rock, though the band has previously dubbed their sound as “Trans-Siberian Americana.” Regardless, their music is wide-open, and paints vivid pictures of Sheron’s adventures and experiences in the wilderness, along with his return home. This is some serious road trip montage soundtrack material and a perfect musical segue as we transition into fall.”
“October’s Road, the band’s prior release, was a certainly a stellar pack of songs, if evidenced by nothing else than our massive love for it, but Monuments is a study in musical growth and near folk perfection. Singer-songwriter Dan Sheron’s voice was perfectly suited to those older songs of longing and cold but on this album he pulls off a new show of songwriting maturity with stunning accuracy. These songs take on a life of their own in a way they never could have if they were recorded solo and it’s quite clear this album is a huge step for this band. And it is one that should pay off if there is any good left in this world. To be honest, I thought I knew the sound that defined Balto inside and out and it was great enough that I was in love with it at first listen. This new EP is a departure for Sheron and one that could have failed horribly if not executed perfectly — we see it all the time in the indie music world. But executed perfectly this EP is...”
“This is modern balladry with twists and turns in all the right places. It's beautiful music and needs to be heard. There's a deft balance struck on the EP offering both faithful continuity to 'October's Road' with a freshness and depth in styles and direction. The debut was the achingly honest and heartfelt telling of a journey away from a love lost and toward personal rediscovery. The music fittingly charted the changing moods; abandonment became anger became self-pity became freedom became hope became rebirth. I was absorbed by the story as much as the music because of Sheron's ability to paint with words, represent everyday feelings so clearly using subtle imagery and affect a rich beauty from simplicity. The same ethos is at the centre of these songs and the appeal is as strong as ever throughout.”
“I especially like the banjo flecks running through both songs, a little more sparse guitar in the October’s Road version but the production of the strings in the Monuments version is stellar. I can’t even say that the songs are two sides of the same coin per se, there just may be a natural progression of a song that sees the inside of a studio or more hands on the refining process. I think this is a happy medium of not losing the original texture of the song while still giving it the polished shine a long lost treasure deserves.”