Reviewed by: Dan Gordon It’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets Girl. Boy joins a band. Boy gets some tiny-font spots at summer festivals. Boy leaves the beaten path to tour, with only a quick rendezvous in an uncomfortable hotel to hyphenate the endless weeks on the road. Boy’s album debuts on NPR. Boy is rocketed into the indie rock fast track, whatever that means for a soulful Philadelphia folk band in the Internet age without even a full album to its name. The pressure of success changes everything for Boy, even the stability he found in Girl.
Mt. Joy’s newest single “Dirty Love” puts singer Matt Quinn’s doubts front and center, and more than any of Mt. Joy’s previous singles (and more than most songs in heavy Indie rotation, for that matter), it excels at telling the story through its instrumentation as much as through its lyrics. Even the most whimsical of folk-pop instruments, the ukulele Quinn strums in solitude to start the song, cannot hold off his deepest insecurities, with a brooding and all-consuming bass accompanying his brooding and all-consuming doubts as he asks, “Did I ever want love? Or did I ask too much?” The ending grows manic, with a staccato guitar piercing through the noise as the voice in the back of Quinn’s head continues to pierce through his every thought.
And then it ends, all at once. Nothing is in his control. “Is it any wonder our love isn’t what we thought it was?” he asks, knowing that there was nothing to be done. “You can’t control who you really are, what you really want.” The sudden end leaves an enormous question mark on the future, but it’s certain that Mt. Joy has big places to go, wherever those big places are.