With its 2008 debut, When the Music Starts, Mount Righteous made a delightful mark on the local scene, usurping The Polyphonic Spree's grandiosity, cheerfulness and uplifting nature and appropriating it into an 11-piece, acoustic, faux-marching band that recalled the cutest darn piece of musical theater you've never seen. But, as the band's 2009 EP, Open Your Mouth, signaled, Mount Righteous' start was but one phase on the outfit's nonlinear path.
Now a nine-piece unafraid of a little electricity—Mount Righteous features its fair share of electric guitar and megaphone-altered vocals—the band's taken a more aggressive, hectic turn. Indeed, if When the Music Starts' address was somewhere on Sesame Street, then Mount Righteous finds the band reveling in its Peewee's Playhouse years. Largely centered on what the band refers to as a "polka-punk" beat, the disc is a fast-moving, potentially headache-inducing offering—"I Think I Need a Break," with its police alarms, screams and whoops practically begs listeners to heed the song's advice and put their players on hold—but, in the right setting, this disc still proves as rewarding as the band's previous output.
Sure, Mount Righteous may now be more abrasive than ever, but the band still aims to pass along some life lessons, as "When Your Paycheck Comes" so amply proves: "When your paycheck comes, you won't be so somber/When your paycheck comes, you won't be so sad." The band may be rebelling a little as it ages, but, underneath, it's still quite charmingly afraid of growing up.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.