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Review: Mt. Joy, 'Mt. Joy'

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

At once amiable and soaring, Mt. Joy's songs unfold like good political speeches: They amble and converse and pulsate fervently until it's time to get the crowd chanting along. Take "Silver Lining," which plays like a pretty straightforward rock and roll ramble — complete with a chorus in which singer Matt Quinn shouts out the phrase, "The drugs, the women, the wine, the weed" — until it gets to a more profound call to action: "Tell all the ones you love you love them."

Throughout its self-titled debut, the Philly-bred band meets at a crowd-pleasing midpoint between amiable recent-vintage folk-rock and the weary grandeur of Southern-rock legends like The Allman Brothers. Throughout his ruminations on artistic frustration and lost love, Quinn establishes himself nicely as an ambling everyman in search of answers enshrouded in wistful nostalgia and a haze of pot smoke. Mt. Joy surrounds his pleas with rootsy, ringing Americana, ideally configured for open-air festivals on hot days.

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