Thursday Feb 22
Review: The Movement – Beneath The Palms

The Movement – Beneath The Palms (Acoustic)
mvmt_beneath_the_palms22Track Listing:
1.) Ocho Rios
2.) Hola
3.) Mile High
4.) Echo
5.) Moonshine
6.) Small Axe (Bob Marley Cover)
7.) Sweet Life
8.) Habit
9.) Gift
10.) Another Man’s Shoes
11.) Get Ready (Sublime cover)

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: Nov 24th, 2014
Record Label: Independent
Official Website: The Movement Website

Artist Background:
Hailing from Columbia, South Carolina, the reggae-rock group The Movement was formed in 2004 by a trio of Sublime and Pixies fans. Joshua Swain, Jordan Miller, and John Ruff, aka DJ Riggles, launched The Movement with their “alternative reggae” debut album, “On Your Feet.” In 2008, the group met Chris DiBeneditto, a Philadelphia-based producer who had worked with like-minded acts such as Slightly Stoopid and G. Love & Special Sauce. Relocating to Philadelphia, they recorded 2008’s “Set Sail” at DiBeneditto’s Philadelphonic Studios. The Movement expanded with the addition of Gary Jackson on drums and Jason “Smiles” Schmidt on bass. In 2012, Miller left the group, and the trio, now fronted by Swain, released their fourth album “Side By Side,” in 2013.

In 2014, the group added Keyboardist/Producer, Brendan Dane, aka Alific, to the group. Now, The Movement has released a live acoustic album titled Beneath The Palms that is made up of 11 songs, including 2 covers, recorded at two separate locations. Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 were recorded at The Compound Studio, outside on the front porch, in Valley Center, CA. Those tracks were engineered & mixed by Shelby Meddock. Tracks, 4, 6, 8 and 10 were recorded with Sugar Shack in Bonita Springs, FL from their Sugarshack Video Sessions and were engineered by Alex Casement and mixed by Brendan Dane. The entire album was then mastered by Danny Kalb in Columbus, OH with cover-art by Kc Cowan

Album Review:
This all acoustic album better identifies The Movement as being side by side, showing fans how well they sound when performing raw & uncut. If you’re looking for an all acoustic album in the realm of Slightly Stoopid’s Live & Direct: Acoustic Roots, look no further than this surprise release by The Movement.

Beneath The Palms includes Joshua Swain on vocals & acoustic rhythm guitar, while Gary Jackson plays the drums as we hear Jason “Smiles” Schmidt on acoustic lead guitar, providing back-up vocals with occasional bass. Alific contributes keys during the Sugarshack session on songs “Echo”, “Small Axe”, “Habit”, and “Another Man’s Shoes”.

Joshua’s soulful vulnerability can be heard through his raspy, nasally & sometimes slurred delivery, best compared to a down the middle cross between Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid and Bradley Nowell of Sublime.

This is every bit of a live acoustic album as you’ll hear with offbeat whistling, talking, yelling, shout-outs & heavy breathing. Performing acoustic and stripped down music shouldn’t be perfect or over-produced. All of those unplanned nuances, noises and effects that naturally make their way onto the recording, is all the extra production that’s needed for any Acoustic release.

This is an album that you turn up to JAM, not to bump. It screams energy with soul coming off the free spirited performance of aggressive finger plucking & subtle drums with occasional keys. You can hear what each instrument is doing and how it’s communicating with the other parts, enabling an intimate experience with the music for the listener.

There couldn’t be a better example of both spirit & soul, then on the performance & cover of Bob Marley’s “Small Axe”. This is the albums best performance and now one of my favorite covers. It’s not just the singing and the playing, but the overall emotion that affectionately pours out, making it one of the more captivating songs on the album.

Some of the stand-out songs for me were “Ocho Rios”, “Hola”, “Small Axe” and “Habit”. There weren’t any songs that I skipped & I did become a new fan of older songs that didn’t win me over on previous releases with “Another Man’s Shoes”, “Sweet Life”, “Gift” and “Mile High”. All of the songs were enjoyable, but the aforementioned just seem to elicit more emotion, spirit & soul.

They revisit songs from each of their previous albums, with the exception of One More Night (when Josh Swain wasn’t in the band). Even songs where former vocalist Jordan Miller was previously featured, his parts go unnoticed and unquestioned as Joshua makes the song his own in a stripped down environment.

The Movement does a fine job with making their past songs a nostalgic memory of what they were, but new & innovative enough to further appreciate the alternative mix. This was the case with their cover of Sublime’s “Get Ready”, “Hola” as well as hearing “Habit” with the subtle addition of Alific on keys.

Beneath The Palms isn’t a ground breaking album and they didn’t reinvent the wheel, nor did they have to. This is music being performed and enjoyed the way it was intended. It’s live & raw with natural energy that you can’t help but to gravitate towards. There are a lot of bands that hide behind the production of a studio or playing live on top of a click-track, but Beneath The Palms further displays that The Movement can deliver just fine in its primitive form.

I was a bit disappointed that newer songs weren’t introduced and performed. Beneath The Palms, however, is a release that could be a great first impression to any new Movement fan and for longtime fans, it’s enough for you to drool over. This album reaffirms The Movement’s side by side chemistry & musical depth by solely & confidently relying on their own raw talent to deliver something truly enjoyable.

Written & Reviewed By: Mike Patti

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]

Watch: The Movement – “Small Axe” (Bob Marley Cover)

4 Responses to Review: The Movement – Beneath The Palms

  1. Dub Diezel says:

    Great article, and the video is sweet too. There was nice footage with that, I bet they recorded the whole thing to release as a dvd sometime in the near future. Just my guess. I definitely like the line up it’s been for awhile with Josh back on strings and vox simply because as you put, he does kind of have a cross breed of a Kyle McDonald and Bradley, but man to give him that comparison to Brad is the greatest honor any musician from this scene or any in the music world could ever get in my opinion. Though I don’t agree 100% maybe, I do agree he does have a Bradley of Sublime kind of attitude with his rhymes and approach along with Kyle of Stoopid, but Brad is in a realm all his own haha. That is in no way a jab at Josh because what I’m also going to state, is that in my opinion Josh has his own style altogether that you just see influences in him from the other mentioned artists and I think Josh is a sic musician. I think he has his own sound actually and this is partly why I believe The Movement are as popular as they are. Yes like many other fans or musicians such as myself who are fans would agree, if Jordan could come back, would we ever get another “Set Sail” out of the fella’s? Such a sic record. “Side By Side” grew on me more any more after every complete listen of the album but it also has me think with some parts in songs……. like man, this maybe would be a tight interlude or part for Jordan to jump in if he were featured on this particular track. I think it’s cool we got two separate albums each with both Josh on one album and vocals duties by himself and Jordan on another, and I have to say Josh and “Side By Side” takes the #1 spot even though “One more night” had it’s great songs. I like that Josh who’s always had that Skunk family kind of attitude in the music and the boys in The Movement bring me back to those Long Beach Dub Allstars, Sublime-Robbin The Hood rawness within the musical instrumentation and vocal style approach. I think the fans out there of the Reggae-Rock scene have been yearning for a group to have that same kind of bad dude rough around the edges reggae-rock attitude but still delivering the nice melodies as well. No pun intended with this video above of the Marley cover but there is too much of that lighter Kumbayah Rastafarian is the way, and I say in no disrespect and enjoy myself. I mean that’s reggae music in general with Bob Marley and the beginnings of the genre, but what bands like The Clash, Sublime, and 311 did was basically create a new genre of music in it’s own that brings out new bands with similarities such as The Movement. I’m a regular rocker who just loves the music and if it comes with a positive message than outstanding! But I also like hearing about things I understand and can relate to, and If I want to study Rasta than I will, and if musicians want to only sing about that, than I also don’t have to listen to it if i don’t want. I guess point being and why I’m going on a rant all of the sudden, is that I’ve been away from the scene a little bit, only still keeping up with my boys in Wait For Green, and listening to The Movement, Slightly Stoopid, Pacific Dub a little, Stick Figure, and Tribal Seeds. Yes I said Tribal Seeds, but they know how to mix it up perfectly. Praise Rasta if you want but praise or discuss other topics that every man or woman can relate to. I’m stoked to see The Movement alive and well and this Acoustic release is raw and beautiful. Perfect with how they recorded this in my opinion. Believe it or not though I’m already ready for another Plugged record fella’s! Hope all is well with the Pier Fam!

    • Your comment was so f-ing stupid. OMG. You don’t even have the first clue about Rasta and never will it seems…”topics that ever man or woman can relate to”-your words. You don’t even know what Bob Marley was talking about. Everyone could relate to his music if they had a brain and a soul to comprehend it with properly. He never even heard any of these bands during the time he was alive including all these bands that people worship constantly like Sublime. He was in a genre all his own, as one man with one mission and one guitar and God speaking and working through him constantly every day. Do people even understand that he was shot and then murdered for what he stood for and wrote about and sacrificed for through his music? It seems like this cutesy “positive” image is just to downplay a real life struggle that is ongoing with people who don’t care much about anything,but to dope themselves up and find their latest rock song to blast while they mindlessly look at porn or something. If music is good, then it’s good. That’s it. Most songs called reggae are not even reggae which is supposed to be “God’s music”, good enough for God, the Creator!!! To be good would be to actually MEAN SOMETHING IMPORTANT. Most songs hardly ever stand the test of time and are forgotten or disposed as soon as listened to or represent our weird human phases and addictions and years later wonder why you even liked it before especially when you find out the person who made the song is a total loser…that’s not Bob Marley.

  2. Billy Davis says:

    I could carry on for a while with some blah, blah, blah about comparisons and any particular albums place in music hierarchy but I’m not. This album redefines what we expect of these guys in a recording. The energy is there. The arrangement is tight. It’s fun to play. This release will be stuck in my rotation for a long time and showed up just in time before a road trip to get in some boarding. It’s snowing this morning and looks like it’s not letting up. I will have pow under foot in the coming days and some tunes that will make me move. I couldn’t be happier. All I can say is thanks.

  3. Billy Davis says:

    I came back to post this because this issue was nagging at me. I get it may be an age thing, but these constant references to Sublime on every American reggae act needs to stop. First, I love Sublime more than most, so no disrespect to them, but they didn’t invent the genre. They changed it to some extent; they were the best at it, but by no means did they blaze the trail. We were watching bands pulling the alt reggae/ska sounds in local halls before Sublime released an album. Sublime followed a path that was well worn but did so in their own way and the quality as amazing. Who else sings so many covers and changes the world? The influence may be there for all of us but I don’t think I can read another review that essentially labels everything after them to be some sort of tribute or copy. The Movement has it’s own sound and in no way is a copy of Sublime. Another thing that bugs me is people saying Second Hand Smoke is Sublime’s best album. It’s a compilation, not an album. Anyhow, give all of these band some room to move. No more comparing everyone to Sublime because that is where your history begins; no more telling Stoopid to sound like their first album; no more telling us Rome(who has a lot to offer on his own) sounds like Brad. “Just quit talkin’. it’s over.”

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