Dwarf Mountain Alphabet

An Album By

Joy Electric

Review by

Yes, Ronnie Martin has pep to spare in his pursuit of peachy synth-pop on the umpteenth Joy Electric album and the first outside Tooth & Nail Records’ artist roster. Amid all his retro-futuristic knob twiddling, keyboard plinking and sequencer programming, however, all is not always so cheery in Electircland. The prevailing JE modus operandi may be to make music perfectly fit for the aerobics class at an especially hip Curves franchise, but don’t be fooled. Martin has before and here again on Dawrf Mountain Alphabet can explore myriad more dire emotions. Since he seems pretty happy on his Facebook posts, it’s likely as anything that his odes to obscurity, sadness and catharsis are as much born of existential world-weariness as they are from plugging away at an impressive and growing oeuvre that remains under-appreciated, even among the oxymoronic demographic designation of Christian hipsters. If the former hypothesis has any credibility,. Martin’s operating in a musical mode that many wouldn’t deem “authentic” for his sentiments as the accompaniment for the works of Bob Dylan, Mark Heard or Leonard Cohen makes his music no less affecting. And like King David toward the end of his psalms of complaint or Jeremiah at his most lane lamenting, Martin’s faith is evident, if hard fought. This Mountain is fit for dancing, but Martin suonds like he’s doing so from bittersweet release.