Album Review: Mt. Joy – Rearrange Us

Fast rising LA-based Mt. Joy unpack a contemplative tour of highs and lows in second album

Fast rising LA-based Mt. Joy unpack a contemplative tour of highs and lows in second album

Self-proclaimed Indie-Folk, Soulful Rock and five-piece band Mt. Joy flourish after a year of plentiful single releases with their new album, Rearrange Us. The second effort since their self-titled debut in 2018, from Dualtone Records and producer Tucker Martine, reaches gracefully into moving themes and imagery carried with the stirring sophistication of Matt Quinn’s vocals, whilst affectionately rooting to their inaugural style.

Opening the curtains, Bug Eyes first half exposes the dignified melancholy that manifests throughout other offerings, until a dawning of confidence and optimism reflects in the latter half’s jump in tempo, and it doesn’t look over it’s shoulder until the final moment. Eponymous single, Rearrange Us, then pastes a warm reminiscence; missing someone, but subtlety of lyrics deservedly drifts the tone into regret, and the song surrenders to harder times which other songs combine.

‘Have Faith’, a 45 second gospel briefness featuring female vocals ever so gently lifts and redirects the mood into a positive place, sowing the seeds for ‘My Vibe’, a momentum gaining pick-me-up. The keyboard-‘bop-bop’, backing classroom singalongs of “Move ’til you feel better, get yourself together”, is a liberating glide along sun-soaked suburbia, and the buttered vocal tips slickly slide along holding high hands. ‘Let Loose’ continues with high-chins but within a relaxed Sunday space, until the jazzy outro breaks out with a fore-fronting guitar and eventual piano. It’s carefree and a familiar guilty pleasure, but maybe guilty too of being common sonically and thematically. ‘Every Holiday’, a festive placement inspiring synonymous themes of shared love and family, eases in another relaxed sentiment. Yet instrumentally and lyrically, it finds mournfulness and hope, making this holiday seem a wishful occasion to mask problems – it’s a deft blend.

‘Come With Me’ travels closest to the highs of ‘My Vibe’, going for a compelling invite rather then a relishing of the moment. ‘Death’ and ‘Acrobats’ complete the trio of a consistently steady section in tempo and of a bassier tone. The former, continues the knack for sweetly restrained intro’s of electrical or acoustic strings, whereas the latter’s instrumental’s when alone, are possibly the album’s most interesting but more so, enveloping and moody. It’s the firmest foot into Rock-esc territory so far. Then, honing a beautiful and tighter synergy of elements combined earlier in the record, ‘Witness’ hums a ghostly intro oozing pain, and uniquely against preceding tracks, implements a use of hand drums. A change in attitude to an entity of resentment is wonderfully reflected in a delicate latter-half charge in tempo, and sparks ideas of infidelity, yet refusing to boil into rage.

The hushed strumming, dominant lyrics and strained voice of ‘Us’, is where the relatively faster course ends. The song is gripped by Quinn’s soothing and fragile voice that clings onto cherished memories. ‘Become’, is easily felt as an evolution, and could therefore be blurred or lost interchangeably with it’s counterpart. Defiant, and a finale worthy of it’s healed aura, ‘Strangers’ is the crown of the album. Fittingly, emotional baggage feels closed, as the piano-omen calls forth light at a tunnel’s defeated end: burdens are freed and an unknown future is self-permitted, but it’s a future of fresh opportunity and clarity, without doubt.

Mt. Joy have committed to serving seconds, but this time around with a maturer heart and mellower pride. It feels outwardly dearer yet filled, suggestively, with inward examination of memories, or ‘Stranger’s’ take: a “flesh wound”. The brilliant modesty of the record speaks for the personality of Mt. Joy, who have ensured their newest take weaves longing, romantic regret, and self-motivation in the face of it, amongst others, into an album that deserves to be highly sought after.

Out everywhere June 5th.