Moving Mountains

Waves

Written by: TL on 11/06/2011 15:38:41

Moving Mountains, in case you don't know of them yet, are a four-piece from the United States, who've been gathering attention over the last year, touring in support of Biffy Clyro and releasing a couple of EP's in preparation for the follow-up to their debut LP "Pneuma". The new record is, as far as I have read, the first to be recorded with the band's full line-up, and it was released on May 10th under the name "Waves". This then, is a review of that record.

It doesn't take much experience with my writing, to guess that my interest was awakened when I heard the band was supporting my darlings Biffy Clyro in their trek across North America, but after having gotten acquainted with Moving Mountains, I can report that the two bands don't sound all that much alike. At least not judging from "Waves", which positions MM somewhere between post-rock and post-hardcore, borrowing the cinematic sounds from the former, and packing them with the punch and immediacy of the latter.

To elaborate, MM take subtle melodies and continously build around their foundation with both layers of guitar chords, ambiance and occasional dashes of strings or keys. Where they differentiate this from the common post-rock approach, is in giving their songs as many dynamic changes as gradual progressions, as well as memorable hooks. Hooks that are mainly delivered by a clean/harsh vocal dynamic also traditional to post-hardcore. As far as references go, the band has earned online comparisons to The Appleseed Cast, but given my lack of familiarity with that band, I can't very well verify that. Instead, I'd say they seem like a lighter and brighter parallel to My Epic, early Fightstar or Sights & Sounds, or alternatively, like a faster and heavier variant of Union Sound Set or The Unwinding Hours.

An interesting soundscape does not necessarily a good album make however, without being molded into good songs. Fortunately, Moving Mountain deliver good songs quite consistently here, and I'm compelled to highlight a few personal favourites in "Full Circle", "Where Two Bodies Lie", and especially "The Cascade", which I'm guessing will be the first song most listeners will recognize during the first few listens.

In the department of critical observations, I only have a few minor comments to offer. The first is that the vocals, while sounding good and impassionate, don't have quite the character - as in, the instant recognizability - that you'd expect from a true top-tier band. And this surprises me, considering how good guitarits/back-up singer Frank Graniero sounds in his other band Caravela. Secondly, while the cello contributions certainly are soulful, and fit the music well, it can seem a little weird that it sounds like a single cello sits in between guitars that have been amped up to sound like a tidal wave of noise. It makes me wonder if the band should maybe spend a little more on a larger string ensemble, if they get some more money to throw around in the future.

Those are but small comments though, and I readily admit that "Waves" deserves a lot of the hype that it has been getting around the web. It's a fine accomplishment for the band's current line-up, and an excellent introduction to the band for a newcomer like me. And by my estimation, it's the kind of record that you can return to occasionally for a long time coming, each time remembering that "damn, that's still a really good record".

8

Download: The Cascade, Full Circle, Where Two Bodies Lie
For The Fans Of: My Epic, Sights And Sounds, Union Sound Set, early Fightstar, The Unwinding Hours, The Appleseed Cast
Listen: http://soundcloud.com/mjourdian

Release Date 10.05.2011
Triple Crown/Make My Day

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