Moving Mountains - Waves

Album cover
Experimental, Post-hardcore, Post-Rock
Triple Crown Records
Moving Mountains
Waves
Moving Mountains - Waves Review rating:
3
User rating:
Average: 4.7 (7 votes)

The farther post-rock seems to trudge along in its state, what some would say dying, the worse the list of exceptional worth it has left. Any genre, regardless of its categories, needs some type of innovation or style change or even variety, but if that doesn’t arrive then the genre risks becoming mundane and stale. Post-rock in all its modern orchestral grandeur is one of the few extremely niche genres of modern music. You’ll be hard-pressed to hear any of the poster bands of the genre uttered in the words of many. Godspeed! You Black Emperor and the more experimental Tortoise are a couple of bands from the traditional movement and beginnings of post-rock. The introduction of vocals by bands like Slint and even the multi-genred Stereolab have allowed post-rock to move in a new and reasonably foreseen direction. Moving Mountains released their debut “Pneuma” in 2008 with its mixture of emo-centric vocals and post-rock structure the band has had a bit of fanfare, connecting the two said genres together. And while the debut wasn’t nearly as balanced as it should have been, the highlight within the album was “Cover the Roots/Lower the Stems”, which Gregory Dunn pours much emotion within the creative interludes that encompass the 5-minute song; once the vocals and instrumentation blend the group reaches new heights. For many this was the future for the group. If they could harness this type of electricity between all the band members then Dunn’s moderately-laden vocals along his and Frank Granerio’s powerfully placed guitar that ostensibly carries the song at the end they would be a band to look for. You could say that “Cover the Roots/Lower the Stems” has become the caricature of Moving Mountains.

That realization may have come sooner than most would have guessed once they released their Foreword EP in the same year. All the tracks carried resonating post-rock atmospheres for much of the EP, but what was more surprising was the fact that Dunn’s vocals were never separated or diluted within the structure; instead they were by far a potent aspect of every track, even the screams turned into something post-hardcore worthy – an all around harsher tone, for example within “In One’s Heart, In One’s Mouth” Dunn’s shrieks have no bounds as compared to Pneuma they were relatively kept in check. The 3-year gap between their EP and sophomore effort “Waves” should come as a huge surprise as what has culminated. The results are an entirely peculiar shift in direction for Moving Mountains, one of which was never warranted. Where their previous work was ordained as a post-rock mixture with powerful expressive vocal work, “Waves” turns into post-hardcore show, something seen in modern groups like Thrice, but not quite as effective. Why? Well, Moving Mountains leaned upon the weight of their instrumentation to add upon Dunn’s vocal and lyrical prowess, creating something of a behemoth as the music progressed, but “Waves” feels far too thin, at times overbearing in nature and straightforward.

The opening track ‘My Life Is Like A Chase Dream’ leaves nothing on the table. In previous efforts, Moving Mountains would allow their tracks to evolve organically, but the reluctance to embrace this is showing, practically throwing it away; instead the straightforward post-hardcore temperament of each track practically takes over what made tracks like “Lights and Shapes” in the past totally fall apart. The consequent is each splice of post-rock is entirely false. While the strings in “Where Two Bodies Lie” feels entirely genuine in the ambiance, the song is overpowering for most of its length, almost mudding it out of any emotional connect with the listener.

What “Waves” seems to be heading into is a generic realization of the post-rock genre. Where the elements of the genre are only there to supplement something greater, that is not what post-rock is. With every passing track the basics of what was on “Foreword” or “Pneuma” is there, but they are completely shielded with an overzealous taste of post-hardcore. Dunn reiterates, “To just breathe” in the track “The Cascade”, but how can we? There is no levity and not in the cheerfulness sense, there isn’t practically zero freedom on “Waves”. For the most part there isn’t any room to breathe, which is unfortunate because Moving Mountains were mastering those elements only a few years ago.

Moving Mountains are not a post-rock band for most any longer. Their shift of philosophy to a post-hardcore group isn’t necessary because they never had any reason to heed this direction. Maybe their experimental personalities have overtaken them, but one thing remains is that they still have the chops to head back to the direction of what made them so endearing. The result is a mildly interesting post-hardcore album that could be said to be experimenting into something deeper. Only a few years ago you’d say the opposite of Moving Mountains – a band that uses post-rock to experiment with different styles in a mild form of the hardcore scene. “Waves” in a sense is another cycle for the group. The album is fleeting in many ways for a post-hardcore album. The question is will they keep moving toward this style or revert back to what is now considered ‘traditional post-rock’ for the group?

1. My Life Is Like A Chase Dream
2. Where Two Bodies Lie
3. Tired Tiger
4. The Cascade
5. Once Rendering
6. Once Always For Me
7. Alleviate
8. Parts In Different Places
9. Furnace Woods
10. Full Circles

Moving Mountains is a New York-based indie rock band. Combining emotional vocals with elements of post-rock and emo, the band has often been compared to The Appleseed Cast.

The band was formed in Westchester, New York in 2005 by Gregory Dunn (guitar/vocals) and Nicholas Pizzolato (drums). A self-titled demo EP was leaked to the public in early 2006 and their debut album Pneuma was released independently in early 2007. Later that year, Frank Graniero (guitar/vocals) and Mitchell Lee (bass) completed the band's line-up. In 2008, Pneuma was reissued by Deep Elm.

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