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Album Review
Moving Mountains - Moving Mountains Album Cover

Moving Mountains - Moving Mountains

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9.0
Moving MountainsMoving Mountains
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Record Label: Triple Crown Records
Let’s not waste our breath comparing past to present. With Moving Mountains, it’s an especially extraneous exercise – few bands have explored as many compositions with such little regard for previous material. After eight years of evolution, we arrive at the band’s third full-length in all its self-titled glory. Though few expected such mellow sounds from the group, Moving Mountains’ veteran songwriting and dynamic structuring have created an unexpectedly gorgeous record worthy of fans old and new.


Whether intentional or otherwise, the album’s nine tracks neatly group in triplets, creating a three-act structure of sorts between different movements. The flow and feel is smooth, yet distinctive as the band shifts gears in new directions. The result is quite pretty and memorable despite the lack of energetic outbursts used in previous material.

The exposition introduces the record via familiar tones, as “Swing Set” and “Burn Pile” channel New Light’s mood and instrumentation. As mentioned in a recent interview, the band’s EP of reinterpretations is “a good stepping point” and “inspired [their] approach for the new record.” Both “Swing Set” and “Burn Pile” build off that ambiance, utilizing wider sounds while emphasizing vocalist Greg Dunn’s melodies. “Hands” shows a noticeably deft touch, beautiful in its simplicity with subtle, yet distinguished instrumentation. You’d never know the band didn’t operate within these resonances their entire career.


With the rising action comes the energy – and Josh Kirby. The new guitarist opens the second act with a great intro riff on “Seasonal” and contributes the album’s most active riff via “Hudson,” which should quell the Waves-sayers. Kirby’s contributions certainly recall his solo project while seamlessly integrating into the band and record. It’s no coincidence that drummer Nicholas Pizzolato shifts forward in these tracks, as his bombastic drumming drives the liveliness.

But back to “Seasonal.” Besides serving as an excellent transition track, the song eschews traditional templates in favor of an altered structure that produces huge results. By utilizing vocals on only two verses, a bridge, and a single (and immense) chorus, the track weighs each section with additional significance, demanding unforgettable moments without the crutch of repetition – easier to accomplish via shorter tunes than rock songs. But the band nails it, employing concise and significant instrumental sections to round “Seasonal” into a track sure to stay on repeat.


Within the aforementioned second movement comes “Eastern Leaves,” the album’s midpoint and best summary of the record as a whole. Dunn slowly builds from mellow vocals and acoustic guitar to the full band ambiance from act one, culminating into Moving Mountains’ biggest instances. By showing restraint and letting the vocals breathe, “I think it’s fair to say that we have both seen better days” engrains into memory, becoming the record’s most notable lyric. The passion continues through a call back to “The Cascade” that’ll bring smiles, followed by a fantastic outro featuring guest vocals from Into It. Over It’s Evan Weiss. If only one song from self-titled finds its way to your headphones, make it this one.

Resolution and simplicity arrive via the final act, where Dunn’s singer/songwriting interests shape the remains. The short “Under A Falling Sky” leads into the borderline poppy “Chords,” an upbeat ditty that demands sing-alongs. Just then, the soft transitions to the dark, as closer “Apsides” ends the record on a haunting note. Again, it’s consistently so pretty – we’ve thrown around plenty of synonyms and buzz words, though few do the album justice.

More than anything, Moving Mountains feels complete. There’s finality to it. And between its self-titled status, the customary call-back to a fan favorite, and semblances to Dunn’s solo efforts, an all-too-possible reality becomes evident. Should such a reality come to be, Moving Mountains’ third full-length certainly has earned a spot on the mantel.

9/10
This review is a user submitted review from Jack Appleby. You can see all of Jack Appleby's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 108
03:22 AM on 08/27/13
#2
Toner
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I love that you included some of the Telegraph Sessions in here. I always love listening to an album while reading about it, and this is as close as we're going to get to listening to it for a few weeks yet!

All of the sessions have been fantastic so far. This is definitely my most anticipated of the year. Should be the perfect album to ease into Autumn.
04:27 AM on 08/27/13
#3
Geology Rocks!
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This review might be the biggest tease of the year. Thanks Jack. All other music is shit until this gets released.
05:32 AM on 08/27/13
#4
kimchi
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I need this in my ears.
06:18 AM on 08/27/13
#5
bunneh.
make moves, son
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I cannot wait for this release. Great review!
06:19 AM on 08/27/13
#6
cubsml34
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Good review. I like the new material but just can't get past the incredibly high bar that Waves set for me.
06:35 AM on 08/27/13
#7
WeltallAY
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Despite not enjoying any of the Telegraph sessions songs I will wait until I hear the actual studio versions to make a judgment. That said, while a nice well-written review I don't find their earlier material to be that different from one another. It all seemed like a logical progression while maintaining a similar sound. This, however, seems a noticeable departure towards a more consistent shift to the more mellow songs of Waves.
06:58 AM on 08/27/13
#8
mrgenious
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Good review. I like the new material but just can't get past the incredibly high bar that Waves set for me.
I'm worried I'll judge this too much based on Waves, but over time I'll love it more once it separates in my mind.
07:03 AM on 08/27/13
#9
SpyKi
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Really excited to hear the proper album.
07:08 AM on 08/27/13
baton
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so excited for this one, especially for Eastern Leaves.. I only touched 2 full performances and some previews from the live session, can't wait for the album. Althouh I'm a little afraid I'm gonna miss the energy of their breakdowns or some more abruptive moments, but here's to hoping they'll get back to it sooner or later too, and I'll take this one with full acceptance for what it is.
07:57 AM on 08/27/13
Protested Hero
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This is way more in line with what I wanted out of Waves. So excited.
08:12 AM on 08/27/13
Jack Appleby
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Good review. I like the new material but just can't get past the incredibly high bar that Waves set for me.
I'm worried I'll judge this too much based on Waves, but over time I'll love it more once it separates in my mind.
Really excited to hear the proper album.
so excited for this one, especially for Eastern Leaves.. I only touched 2 full performances and some previews from the live session, can't wait for the album. Althouh I'm a little afraid I'm gonna miss the energy of their breakdowns or some more abruptive moments, but here's to hoping they'll get back to it sooner or later too, and I'll take this one with full acceptance for what it is.
Me thinks once you guys hear the proper record, your worries will dissipate. Though the Telegraph Sessions are great, it's the album versions that reeled me in. I didn't receive my advance until after "Swing Set" and "Burn Pile" released, and I found myself loving both songs more after having the album versions.
08:20 AM on 08/27/13
thisisalchemy
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Great review. I'm saving most of my thoughts for the full production versions of the songs, but seeing as these songs work so well raw and played live, I can only imagine how good they sound with Matt Goldman's fingers on them.
08:28 AM on 08/27/13
Deathco_019
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Really happy with the direction this album is taking. I definitely would have been disappointed if we got Waves Pt.2 or Waves Jr.

Also, great review, Jack. I love how you managed to mention every song in your review in some capacity. And I agree about how the songs seem to act in groups of three, but work as one big whole too.

Standouts for me so far, based off these sessions: Eastern Leaves, Hands, Seasonal
08:29 AM on 08/27/13
SpyKi
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Me thinks once you guys hear the proper record, your worries will dissipate. Though the Telegraph Sessions are great, it's the album versions that reeled me in. I didn't receive my advance until after "Swing Set" and "Burn Pile" released, and I found myself loving both songs more after having the album versions.
Yeah, I'm definitely expecting that.

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