It's tempting to call Mount Moriah the James Franco of pop music. The North Carolina trio seem to do a little bit of everything -- rock, country, folk and gospel, as opposed to Franco's acting, writing, painting and cologne modeling. And their idiosyncrasies are part of their charm. These four tracks highlight a wide range of influences and deserve a listen before the band's June 24 show at the Frequency.
At times singer Heather McEntire sounds like a smokier, subtler version of Dolly Parton on this short, mid-tempo tune. Despite opting for fuzzy rock 'n' roll guitars, the band resist the urge to rip into something louder and more raucous. Instead, this is a restrained affair with an almost tantric undercurrent.
'Telling the Hour'
Listening to this song is a hair-raising experience. The melancholy intro feeds into a bluesy riff as the song goes into Americana rock mode. When McEntire starts wailing to the heavens near the climax, the track takes on an apocalyptic feel. This sense of doom is augmented at the end of the song, with her whispered proclamation about the advent of darkness.
'The Letting Go'
Led by a piano and an acoustic guitar, this track is the definition of bittersweet. The sound and pacing suggest happiness, but the lyrics are about a broken relationship. The ethereal fade-out alone is worth the price of admission. It has a cinematic quality that brings to mind the scene in Titanic where Rose lets Jack sink to the bottom of the ocean.
This song combines a jangly pop rhythm with rootsy rock and the occasional bit of gospel-choir flair. In doing so, the band emphasize how many different feelings a failed relationship can dredge up. The track becomes unexpectedly groovy when McEntire pairs a slightly off-kilter cadence with lyrics like, "If this will be/Anything/Let it be/Over."