Three years since the release of their breakthrough debut album Feel Something, Movements have got a lot to live up to on their new record No Good Left To Give. Claiming to have significantly grown since their inception in 2015, the Californian four-piece are exploring fresh territory, but are keeping their emotion-fuelled trademark sound in check.
Musically, they’ve added hints of traditional indie and alt rock into their emo-shoegaze mix. Raunchy track ‘Skin To Skin’ features underlining twinkling guitar melodies which makes a pleasant change from their usual ambient mix of chorus and reverb (although this can still be found in the likes of ‘Garden Eyes’ and ‘Living Apology’). The plucks create more texture and helps build strong and well-infused instrumentation that overall creates a brand new sound for Movements. Similarly, ‘Santiago Peak’ moves away from the sombre topics of suicide and lost loves, and instead takes a second to appreciate their hometown in a very anti-pop-punk move. The lyrics alone show their development and maturity over their five years together, with the major tuning making for a welcome change.
One of the most striking aspects of No Good Left To Give’s instrumentation is Spencer York’s rudiments. In each song, he ensures that the drums aren’t merely a part of a backing track, but equally contributes to the melodic output. His injections of intricate rhythms help push Movements to reach new paces so each track is prohibited from stagnancy. For example, in the simplistic introduction of ‘Don’t Give Up Your Ghost’, he uses a prominent hi-hat rhythm, which leads to exciting fills and rumbling snare rolls that are so engaging, it’s as though the rest of the instrumentation is supporting it. This song in particular had the overall potential to be one of the strongest on the record, but is let down as blaring shouts of the title are robbed of their moments throughout. The production prematurely moves onto the next section, not allowing the cutting line to linger like it should. York’s other notable segments appear in the likes of the heavier post-hardcore tracks ‘Tunnel Vision’ and ‘Moonlight Lines’ and inclusive anthem ‘Living Apology’, conveying his personal development since Feel Something.
‘Living Apology’ is a stand-out moment in No Good Left To Give. Speaking of an LGBTQ+ person having to hide their true identity, the lyrics speak of despair, while the music echoes the raw emotion while is simultaneously uplifting. The gang vocals echoing imply unity and mass support for the individual/community, and is a spine-tinging feature. Later, such strong emotion follows again in ‘Seneca’, showing listeners the most poignant parts of the record. Using a rare breed of deer as a metaphor for the one that got away, the slow track is chilling. Every note is perfectly tailored to build and support the sorrowful mood, with one ever-present synth note maintaining the ambience. Patrick Miranda’s vocals are more cutting and pitiful than on any other track, and leave a unique feeling of empathy lingering.
Although No Good Left To Give is not necessarily as cohesive as Feel Something, it’s far more alternative and shows Movements delve into something more than just standardised emo with lots of reverbed guitar solos. It’s worth congratulating them on their commitment to these new styles as every single feature is done justice. However, this means that we’ll be expecting more of this standard from now on.
No Good Left To Give is released September 18th via Fearless Records.
Pre-order the record here.