Mount Moriah – Miracle Temple [album review]

by Woody on July 16, 2013

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Was reminded that we had forgot to review this album when I received an email from Merge on Mount Moriah’s new video for White Sands. I hadn’t listened to Miracle Temple for a month or so but upon revisiting it, I loved it even more. Lead singer Heather McEntire is often compared to a young Dolly Parton and her vocals invoke a time when country music was not Taylor Swift, Faith Hill and others more worried about their fame than their music. And while McEntire’s vocals are the reason you bought the ticket to the show, the more you delve into the music; it is impossible to not be wowed by what Jenks Miller brings to the festivities. The tones he gets out of his guitar are as magical as they are subtle.

Mount Moriah came on to our radar with their s/t debut in 2011. We were lucky enough to book a session with them and the future seemed quite bright for them. Apparently Merge was smitten with them as well and they were signed to join the venerable NC label with Miracle Temple being their Merge debut, and it shows some great strides forward.

There are a number of great tunes on the album. I Built A Town is a heartbreaking tune of unfulfilled love. Miracle Temple Holiness has McEntire singing in a controlled rage. Strings are added to the mix in a tune that is so wonderfully produced that leaves you discovering new nooks on every listen. The closing tune Telling The Hour is a dark, brooding tune with a gothic feel about how love can tear you down to your core.

The brilliance of Miracle Temple comes from the varied musical history of McEntire and Miller. While McEntire’s vocals might be classic country, the production and musicianship shows hints of their history in post-punk and Gothic Southern music. It is their refusal to not be confined by labels and their ability to challenge boundaries that makes Miracle Temple such an appealing listen, and one that becomes more enjoyable with every listen.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

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