Friday, May 20, 2011

Moving Mountains - Waves

Release Date: 05/10/11
Genre: Indie Rock

"Don't fall back so carelessly."

My Story: I feel like i should write a proper review for this album, (despite my poor writing abilities) because Moving Mountains is an important band for me.  You see, 2007 was the year my music taste changed dramatically.  It's when i became invested with music blogs,, and of course, let go of my teenage-self's music.  In its place were two New York bands, The National and Moving Mountains. While Boxer ushered in my new appreciation of lyrics, Pneuma was basically a combination all the good parts of all the genres I enjoyed in the past into something seamless.  When I learned that they were unsigned and younger than I, it worried me that they would never have the opportunity to pursue music full-time.  So I did what any fan would do.  I shared it.

I remember with Foreword, it felt like a long unwinding process where I'll check their myspace and forum each day scratching for any type of news.  When release date rolled around, I've heard three of the four tracks on their EP and read pretty much every review and interview on them.  Once 2009 begin, I felt done.  Musically, they did what i expected them to do, yet I lost that element of surprise.  I wanted something "new" again.  So I stopped paying attention to the band for about two years and with news of Waves, I really had no expectations.  I didn't have doubts, but I felt like I've moved on. Most of my friends know that I'm heavily into pop music these so I don't think I'm part of Moving Mountains' core audience anymore.

Review: In board terms, Waves makes the jump into comparability since their previous efforts was, in my opinion, nothing else like it.  I could hear bits and pieces of other bands like Explosions in the Sky and The Appleseed Cast, but none of the bands the members of MovMou listed as an influence really gave me that fix.  With Waves, I can see them grouped with other rock bands like Thursday and Thrice, (but I hardly listen to them so I won't make assumptions).  I will say that compared within themselves, Waves has a more direct sound.  There are epic moments, but none of the stalling.

I watched an interview with them where they said, this is their first LP as a 4 piece and Waves is a more accurate portrayal of them live.  I can hear it too.  There's ten fully formed songs, but I'm less compelled to listen to the album front to back.  The first five songs are just ridiculous good.  The opener pulled me in with the atmospheric start and it goes from control chaos to passionate chaos. Afterwards, "Where Two Bodies Lie" starts and I only heard the song once when they released it, but i feel that the first two tracks are glued together because they enhance the experience.  Once it climax with "our hearts will align," things felt complete.

What I liked about "Tired Tiger" was how drowned it felt.  Seems heavy.  Then eventually the music just engulfs the vocals and then the chanters echo, "i can feel it, i can feel it" while the main vocals tries to survive with its screams.  It's ridiculous satisfying.  The beginning of "The Cascade" reminded me of "Grow on/up/out" so there's a bit of a mix feeling there, but once it hit to full power, It's probably their most accessible song to date. I begin to love that it has a familiar melody and sound and the ending again just feels magical.  However, it does make me frown when the lyrics are simple.

"Once Rendering" is a softer song vocally, but the drums really walks with us until the guitars start to pump.  Instead of a epic finish, they thin things out, keeping things simple.  the strings here work so well.  I really enjoy the way the wordless vocals float towards the end.  Why you so lost? 

Anyways, this is the point of the album where I hesitant to listen to the rest.  I love the first five, but i know with the second half, "Full Circle" is waiting for me at the end and I've haven't falling in love with it yet.  I'm not sure I will.  To me, it didn't close the album.  It was not an exclamation mark.  Basically, it was an okay song.  I actually like the second to last song better and I would not have minded if they extended that one further to use as a closer. Definitely check out "Furnace Woods."

But back to track six, "Always Only For Me" starts slow and steady, but since "Once Rendering" had that pace, i thought it was odd.  I really like the ending to "Always Only For Me," but the screams and growls did not work for me this time.  I didn't think they complimented one another.  So minor annoyances.  On "Alleviate," I'm reminded of "Lights and Shapes" because it's very fast pace, but the faint background vocals didn't work for me.  It felt too distracting and it didn't resonate with me too well.  I honestly felt they were on autopilot, but i can see how fun this would be for them live.

Summary: Overall, I'm glad they went with this direction because it challenges my view on music.  My taste is always shifting and Waves made me happy that it kept my attention.  The stuff that bugged me were only minor and I can still fine enjoyment with the whole album.

Favorite Songs: Tired Tiger, The Cascade, Furnace Woods
Rating: 8.6/10

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