Mt. Joy Avoid the Sophomore Slump on Expansive 'Rearrange Us'

Mt. Joy Avoid the Sophomore Slump on Expansive 'Rearrange Us'
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Sophomore albums usually carry a lot of pressure for new bands: a debut album typically features songs the band had been writing for years, but the follow-up rarely benefits from that much gestation time. This pressure proved favourable for Mt. Joy, who have delivered Rearrange Us, a beautifully written record outlining the stages of a romantic catastrophe.

Rearrange Us sees the band drifting away from their folk-rock origins and experimenting with new sounds and synthesizers. The groovy guitar licks on "My Vibe" will get listeners dancing, while the orchestral approach to "Acrobats" and "Come With Me" create an eerie ambience halfway through the album. The experiments are mixed in with the simplest of songs like "Us" and "Have Faith," which, while less adventurous, are still strong.

A huge part of what separates Mt. Joy from other indie bands is the understated contributions from pianist Jackie Miclau. Her presence on keys showcased on tracks like "Witness" and "Let Loose" instantly elevates each song into a more sophisticated composition. She shines on the album's finale "Strangers" and plays a big role in the record's successful conclusion.

It's clear lead singer Matt Quinn has penned a set of lyrics all too familiar about the trials and tribulations of a broken relationship. The journey on Rearrange Us might showcase feelings of personal heartbreak, but the uplifting and confident undertones throughout the record result in a renewed sense of optimism. (Dualtone)