Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains

Written by: TL on 11/11/2013 13:22:44

When the popularity of their 07 debut "Pneuma" caught them somewhat by surprise, Moving Mountains did what most bands would when they catch a break: They clung on and flew off like a kite in a storm, responding quickly to the sudden demand with 08's EP "Foreword", jumping on tours everywhere and eventually taking just enough time off to sustain their momentum with 11's "Waves". Upon the ending of that album's touring cycle exhaustion had settled in however, as consequently the Purchase, NY quartet has since been mostly focused on regrouping, replacing departed guitarist and backing singer Frank Graniero with Joshua Kirby and taking their time with creating their third and self-titled album.

The band's trademark has all the while been taking sounds and elements from post-rock and arranging them in more structured ways, throwing occasional stabs of post-hardcore aggression in between crashing and ringing guitars. Yet while the former is still a staple of their style the new album sees Moving Mountains mellow out noticeably, and while the layers of sound are still dense enough feel completely immersive, the crashing waves of noise and the screams of the two former records are left entirely behind on this much more tempered effort. You could say that where Moving Mountains used to sound like tidal waves and earthquakes, they now sound more like gales of wind and trees creaking in the darkness, as listening to this new album does indeed have a tendency to feel like wrapping the night around you like a thick, warm cloak.

Lyrically the album can be hard to approach, with guitarist/lead singer Gregory Dunn seemingly leading dialogues with figures from his past, and while the themes seem to revolve around remembering and coming to terms with earlier choices, and with having changed as a person, the lines are often vague and seem to rely on a previous understanding that most listeners obviously won't have. Being vague and secretive only makes the lyrics fit the dreamy soundscape however, as many times listening can feel like having just woken up and trying to make sense of the images of a dream before forgetting them.

That said there are songs that give some clear clues to what Dunn and his band mates are dealing with, like "Burn Pile"; which definitely sounds like wanting to leave something in the past, "Hudson"; which deals with having chosen a life that takes you far away from your loved ones, and album closer "Apsides"; which is surprisingly forward about the creative pressure that comes when a band moves from being nobodies to suddenly having a larger following. If less clear however, the melodic properties of "Hands", "Eastern Leaves" and opener "Seasonal" still allow them to possibly make the first and strongest impressions, with especially the former standing out with a striking implementation of horns towards the end that really ices the track, as "Eastern Leaves" similarly visits a call/reponse dynamic that takes the song home as well, while "Seasonal" has some nicely accented bass notes which reminds me of Jimmy Eat World's "For Me This Is Heaven".

While I think "Moving Mountains" functions well overall however, as an intricate and intriguing listens that gains on repeat visits, I must admit that I'm not sure if the band has succeeded in their ambition to create their longest lasting album to date. The powerful dynamics and urgency of prior album "Waves" still strike me as the first things that come to mind when I think of the band, and I while I've enjoyed my time with the new record, I eventually must concede that I feel more likely to spontaneously revisit its elder sibling. Not that it should stop you from checking this out at all, especially if you're already inclined towards the group or any of the comparable ones listed below here.

Download: Eastern Leaves, Hands, Seasonal, Swing Set
For The Fans Of: Union Sound Set, The Unwinding Hours, The Appleseed Cast, Thrice

Release Date 10.09.2013
Triple Crown Records

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