Mt. Joy Releases Self-Titled Debut Album


Today, Philadelphia band, Mt. Joy, put out their debut self-titled album on Dualtone Records. The album’s intricately beautiful songwriting mixed with lead singer, Matt Quinn’s, chillingly raspy homegrown voice is irresistable. Having only released their first single “Astrovan” in September of 2016, Mt. Joy has defied the usual rise to fame. It was only just over a year ago that Mt. Joy went on their first few tours with bands such as The Lone Bellow, The Shins, and The Head and the Heart. With millions of streams on Spotify and an exponential fanbase growth, Mt. Joy by Mt. Joy is sure to be a hit.

The album kicks off with “I’m Your Wreck” which dips the listener’s toes into who Mt. Joy is and what kind of music they create. It includes Mt. Joy’s signature catchy guitar strum and alluring harmonies that could silence a room in seconds. Opposed to other songs included on the album, “I’m Your Wreck” is a happy love song. “I’m Your Wreck” has Bruce Springsteen let’s-get-out-of-this-town-vibe, as Quinn sings “Whatever happens there’s money in the mattress”, we are sent to a live in the moment, carefree time.

All of the the band’s previously released singles are included on the album. From “Astrovan” being the first release, to “Dirty Love” being the most recent. Throughout the album, Mt. Joy provides raw honesty to its listener. Quinn sings of social issues, sorrow, and fears experienced in lust and loss but doesn’t forget to add the occasional love song such as “Jenny Jenkins”. The song begins with soft piano chords and guitar setting the rhythm and leads into the chorus with catchy “la-di-das”. Quinn wrote “Jenny Jenkins” for his girlfriend after moving to Los Angeles. Growing up in Philadelphia, he had imagined Los Angeles as a grand place where dreams came true. However after moving there, he felt like it was fake and wasn’t the grand scene he had imagined. In a recent interview, Quinn discussed how even the palm trees are fake as they were imported from outside of California. “Jenny Jenkins” was written to thank and appreciate his girlfriend as she was all he had at the time. 

As the album progresses, we begin to identify Mt. Joy’s distinctive laidback modern folk sound. There is a prominent theme throughout the album discussing political issues and substance abuse. Coming from Philadelphia, the band was exposed to drug abuse from quite young. The topic appears in “Cardinal”, “Silver Lining”, and “Astrovan”. While “Astrovan” takes a more lighthearted approach with clever lyrics, “Silver Lining” discusses the hardship faced when being optimistic during difficult times, and “Cardinal” describes a room mate turning to drugs for a solution. Quinn’s ability to capture pain and tragedy in his voice evokes passion and helps the listener to step into Quinn’s shoes.

On “Mt. Joy”, the band strays away from political lyrics. The song (and band) name was written as an ode to Mt. Joy which is located in Valley Forge National Park. Sam Cooper, who plays guitar in the band, grew up near the park. In the song, Mt. Joy is a symbol for freedom. The band tells stories and dreams of going to Mt. Joy, dancing on festival grounds, and falling in love. Quinn sings “where everyone’s free to move how they feel”.

One of the songs thats sticks out on Mt. Joy is “Sado”. Mt. Joy takes a different approach to your regular break-up song. The band’s americana/folk storytelling emerges and establishes the setting in a garden eating raw tomatoes- a very Mt. Joy-esque touch.

The album ends with “Younger Days”, a slower ballad that reminisces on the simplicity of being young. It is a great song to close out the album as Quinn sings “if you worry, don’t worry about me” and the instrumentals fade out slowly. Mt. Joy has the ability to create professional music without clutter that is immensely pleasing. While they incorporate influence from vintage sound, Mt. Joy creates a new modern form of refreshing music that bases off indie folk-rock. The band’s songwriting is capable of capturing moments and turning them into lyrics unlike no other. 

As this is only the first album Mt. Joy has released, the band has achieved stunningly professional quality with music that appeals to people of all ages. For those that have been there since “Astrovan” to the fans who are soon to discover their music, all are bound to be moved by this up and coming band.

Music, ReviewKeely Caulder