BAND OF THE WEEK: THE MOVEMENTS

15 Oct

If there’s anything disappointing about “Like Elephants 1” – the new album from Sweden’s The Movements – it’s not to be found within the magnificent whole of the album itself, but rather within the reflection of our own impatience. As indicated by the numeral “1” in the album’s title, this release is the first of a two-part set – and the idea that we can’t hear the subsequent sounds immediately is difficult for our patience to understand, so utterly under the spell of “Like Elephants” do we find ourselves after the first half of the story.

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Describing the sound of “Like Elephants 1” is not a job we have the resources to accomplish, seeing as the album lives up to the band’s moniker, moving toward alternate aural reference points from moment to moment, then as quickly away again, until we ultimately must concede that The Movements sound most like The Movements. Not that we had the right to expect anything else; until the recent release of “Like Elephants 1,” the work of The Movements had eluded the grasp of our ears. Given the strength of this album – and the level of our continued impatience in hearing its counterpart (scheduled for a release early in 2014), we won’t be missing their sounds again.

If forced, we could comfortably place The Movements’ sound somewhere within the continuum of song-craft displayed by their countrymen, perhaps nicely seated between The Soundtrack of Our Lives and contemporaries (and label-mates) such as Dean Allen Foyd. More accurately – and more impressively – the album “Like Elephants 1” brings to mind most directly is “Forever Changes.” No one will mistake one for the other, but the reach and ambition of Love’s melodic masterpiece is somewhat echoed in spirit, if not always in sound, by The Movements on “Like Elephants 1.”

This comparison, in large part, is owed to The Movements’ brilliant album opener, “The Death of John Hall D.Y.,” a spiritual relative of “Alone Again Or.” Truth be told, the two songs have almost nothing in common, apart from both being uncommonly, eternally, autumnally catchy – especially the repeated guitar riff. But both songs – yes – set the scene for the remainder of their respective albums, fulfilling on the promise and delivery of glorious garage-rock orchestrations, fine-tuned toward impressive, impassioned odes to yearning and regret, to the unending change of seasons.

We could point to each song on the album and paint comparative pictures – that “Boogin’” sounds a little like “Born on the Bayou,” if it had been born in Gothenburg, Sweden, with a grip of mushrooms in its mouth; that “Two Tongues” sounds a little like the best song from “Who’s Next” that was accidentally left off of the album; that the memorable refrain of the album closing “It Takes A Spark” – “The first thing that you said to me / Was the last thing on my mind” – should sue The Byrds for their failure to write it first.

But this does little to express the true spirit of “Like Elephants 1,” and the illuminating sound of the songs within. Instead, such comparative shorthand makes us feel like the proverbial blind man with the elephant, with the realization that “what we observe is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” And without question, “Like Elephants 1” is an album – and The Movements are a band – that we’ll be seeking to observe for many, many moons to come.

“Like Elephants 1” is available from Crusher Records.

“The problem, as usual, is not with the content but with the process. So the solution is to be found not in what we believe, but in how we hold those beliefs. The solution to differing views is not some objective standard by means of which those with wrong views can simply learn what is true and change to right views. Such a reference point does not in fact exist in our postmodern world of diversity and the local construction of meaning. Rather, the key to harmony is learning to differ in opinions without engaging the fatal move of saying, ‘Only this is true; everything else is wrong.’” – Andrew Olendzki

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2 Responses to “BAND OF THE WEEK: THE MOVEMENTS”

  1. Kevin March 26, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    ‘Like Elephants 1 & 2’ will be released on vinyl in North America this May from Sunrise Ocean Bender Records // sunriseoceanbender.com

  2. mr. atavist March 26, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    ‘Like Elephants 1 & 2’ will be out on vinyl, together, in North America this May from Sunrise Ocean Bender Records // sunriseoceanbender.com

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