The Movement – Side By Side
2.) Freeland (ft Rafa of SOJA)
3.) Side by Side
4.) Sweet Life
5.) Popol Vah
8.) Be Easy
10.) Another Woman
12.) Atlas (ft Chuck Treece)
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: August 13th, 2013
Website: The Movement Website
The Movement is back with a new album Side By Side, their first since former guitarist/vocalist, Jordan Miller, left the band & founding guitarist/vocalist, Joshua Swain, returned. Side By Side was released on August 13th, 2013. The album includes 12 brand new songs, with guest features by Chuck Treece and Rafa of SOJA on Trumpet.
The first time I heard the Movement was back in 2004 & I could tell that the band had something special and was going to do some damage with their original sound. They were a band with a DJ, a DJ to provide the background and Rhythm Section for the songs. This set them apart creatively. After giving Side by Side a solid listen, it is apparent that that creativity and original style the band started with has shifted and been tamed to a more mainstream sound. Maybe this is because of the lineup changes through the years, but it really seems like The Movement’s sound is taking a step backwards with fundamental players being replaced making it difficult to build on “The Movement” sound.
For as much as this band tours and the amount of effort that has been put into previous recordings, I would expect a lot more from a 4th release. The bass is, more often than not, playing a “root and fifth” pattern which really stifles the progressions and some of the songs seem like they are being played a little quick. This can really be heard when you focus on the bubble organ with “Mile High” and “Moonshine”.
Collaborations are a great way to introduce an interesting element into a band’s sound when done sparingly & with taste, but in this case the trumpet defines part of the album. The inclusion of Rafa from SOJA on trumpet would have had more of an impact if used less, or by adding a trombone or Tenor Saxophone. What I really sense is the horn lines were more of an afterthought rather than a focused decision.
In regards to production, The Bass and Drums are pretty solid in the mix, but I find the vocals are mixed too low throughout the record and the guitar is fighting with the trumpet and cymbals to find its place in the mix. A little compression, EQ and panning would have gone a long way to liven this record up.
The Album starts off with “Echo”, which is one of my favorites on the record. Josh’s vocal style is complimented by the spacious bass line and this is one of the tracks that I feel the Trumpet really adds to the track.
“Freeland” really sums up what I was not stoked on with this album; the Vocal harmony, the chords and the bass line all follow the same melody and from a song writing perspective, I would expect a lot more from a veteran band. Rafa’s vocal part in this song is mixed very thin, which is a style, but that paired with the low volume makes it almost inaudible.
The Next 4 songs “Side by Side”, “Sweet Life”, “Popol Vah” and “Moonshine” are pretty standard Reggae Rock songs, leading up to “Gift”. “Gift” is a great song, the lyrics, the melody and production are all done very well. It is an insanely catchy song and beautiful sentiment. “Be Easy” is another great song and feels the most natural on the record.
“Another Woman”, “Galaxy” and “Atlas” feel buried on this album and I think would have done the collective work more justice if they appeared earlier in the track list. “Galaxy” is a haunting song and I think the intro with bass, drums and vocals are really well done.
It did take me a while to wrap my head around this effort and I think The Movement fans will enjoy it for what its worth. Knowing the background and lineup changes have had an effect on this groups momentum, it is hard to be critical as band changes and disagreements can be hard enough on their own.
Written & Reviewed By: Tommy Dubs (of A Sunny Place For Shady People)
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