Saturday Feb 24
Review: The Movement – Side By Side

The Movement – Side By Side
Track Listing:
1.) Echo
2.) Freeland (ft Rafa of SOJA)
3.) Side by Side
4.) Sweet Life
5.) Popol Vah
6.) Moonshine
7.) Gift
8.) Be Easy
9.) MileHigh
10.) Another Woman
11.) Galaxy
12.) Atlas (ft Chuck Treece)

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: August 13th, 2013
Website: The Movement Website

Group Background:
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.

Album Review:
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)

[Editor’s 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]

19 Responses to Review: The Movement – Side By Side

  1. jim lisicky says:

    Your review sucks. This CD is taking two steps forward from one more night. Its a return to their roots. You can’t compare it to on your feet. 1 Gary and smiles were not on it 2 there are no live drums . Of course its going to sound diff Jordan isn’t on it. Echo takes of where set sail ended. Continue blowing shitty bands like 311 and ballyhoo. You are not a movement fan so you don’t understand the sound. You prob gotbelton john and smiley Cyrus in your CD player right now. Mvmt for life its a four star CD I agree the last three songs got lost in the record. You should be praising josh for saving this band and bringing back the sound of old. One more night was more of a Jordan solo CD while echo is a movement CD. Plus your review was three months late. If you took your head phones out of your ass you would of been able to write a good review in a timely manner.

  2. OGMP760 says:

    Hey Jim,

    Mike here, owner of The Pier. I like your comment, with the exception of your personal attacks on Tommy because he doesn’t share the same opinion as you on the record. Tommy is a producer out of San Diego who actually doesnt blow bands like 311 or Ballyhoo!, but gives great support to the underground music scene. He listened to this album for a few weeks to form his honest/unbiased opinion. And the Review isn’t late as The Pier didn’t receive a copy of the album until a few weeks ago when it was sent to Tommy to review. I love your passion & i share the same appreciation with Josh keeping the MVMT going, but we have to keep our disagreements from gettin too negative! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jim! Cheers

  3. Tommy Dubs says:

    Thanks Jim….. I don’t have a CD player…. I am pretty much all MP3’s at this point.

  4. Kenneth Mader says:

    MVMTJUNKIES4Life jimmy! Hope to see you and the boys in Philly Nov 7th! on the review, I love the album and believe its great that Josh came back to keep alive my favorite band! the Movement is more than music! It’s a family! Blessed love peace

  5. Larry Lux says:

    I highly disagree with the review. In my opinion the band has taken huge steps forward from the last record “one more night”
    2.5 stars is just not a fair score when u really listen and understand the concepts and message of the entire album.
    The review is nit picking when it comes to the mix. Although everyone is entitled to their opinion , I feel this review is inaccurate. The writer in the review is talking about compression and issues with the mix. Over compression and Over Mastering has ruined so many records in the past and the band wanted a real life , raw style to come through and I think they properly achieved that. The sound is big , full of bass and is exactly what I look forward to when I think of THE MOVEMENT!
    Let’s take a look back in history for a sec. Some of the greatest bands and songs were recorded on tape or with minimal studio gear but a great song is always a great song. Just because led zeppelin recorded records with only 3 drum mics doesn’t mean it’s not a great record. I just feel this review is really going into personal opinions about engineering , mixing and mastering rather than the record content in itself.

    This record is full of positive energy, great songs and no matter how bad your day is, you can put it on and feel good! Anything that can turn your day around and make you feel good and recognize the beauty around you is worth more than 2.5 stars.

    In my opinion I’m very proud of this group overcoming huge obsticals in the past few years and the music and energy and fans are grower bigger and better than ever.

    Look at the content, lyrics and emotions this record makes you feel and how it relates to today’s times and your life directly.

    I know it has made me smile, feel good and I want to listen again and again . I can’t say the same for a lot of other popular groups on the scene right now. My personal opinion, compared to other albums out now, 4.5 stars for THE MOVEMENT!!!


    Lawrence Schmidt
    -Larry Lux
    President / Founder

  6. Brandon Stewart says:

    Jim doesn’t not speak for all fans of The Movement. While I might not agree with your review, I would never attack you on a personal level. Please continue to show The Movement love and support. They love The Pier

  7. Tommy Dubs says:

    I appreciate all the comments and feedback and would like to respond a little about my thought process as well as who I am. First, I have been involved with this style of music for over 20 years, I have worked with or played with a very large percentage of the bands that are featured on this site….Whether it was in a songwriting fashion, a recording fashion, producing fashion, playing shows with them, or interviewing them on our podcast “A Sunny Place For Shady People”. Rest assured I am not an uneducated hack and I actually have a lot to lose by being honest in my reviews…. but I want to show some integrity. I have given the last 20 years of my life to supporting music in a wide variety of styles and I promise nothing I write is intended to just slam another artist. You can ask anyone in the scene that knows me and they will tell you I am a humble artist with a pretty decent resume.
    In regards to a couple comments:
    to Larry…. I understand you don’t agree and none of us have to, but comparing the Movements record to Led Zeppelin is just not valid to the argument because I don’t really think you believe that the Movement is as good as Led Zeppelin. I do understand your point that compression has changed the recording industry…. But that is “Over compression”… Across a wide variety of speakers from Car Stereo, to Event Project Studio 6’s to NS-10’s I had a hard time clearly hearing some of the instruments and making out words. There were also times when instruments completely jumped out of the mix. I stand by my statement that more experienced EQing and compression would have gone a long way. This is more of a technical statement then an opinion. Look these songs are not ground breaking in their writing style, lyrical content, melody or playing. Albums that are not recorded that well better have some songs on them that are full of vibe and really well written in order for them to appeal to me and that is just my expectation. You are right…… I will listen to a tape deck recording of any artist if the performance is great. Again, I discuss the overuse of a root and 5th note pattern playing style in the bass and the very sped up Bubble skanks and I just don’t feel that is what I want to listen to… I feel like it does not do the genre any justice.
    I can also relate to the emotion and feeling that this album brings to you it is important to connect with music and if that is your experience than the Movement has succeeded… I can honestly say though I do not connect with it nor does it elicit any emotional response and as an audience we can’t expect everyone to have the same experience… that is why there are so many styles.
    Look the review would have been so much worse if I was saying “this album sucks and it is all they are capable of”… I expected more because of the level of talent that is in the band. I also said a shit load of positive things about the bands songs and vibe as well.
    I am saying one thing, this band is capable of more… from my perspective this does not stack up to what else is out there (and if you are ever looking for music…. I got mad suggestions). I think the Movement story is great, think there fans are great….. but, I just did not think this record was great after I listened to it probably 25 times.
    Brandon – I appreciate that…. Spoken like a true fan protecting the band, you are the kind of fan any band would be proud to have.

  8. Scottie Allen says:

    Disagree. The Movement’s new sound is what it should be kind of rough and raw. I figured out years ago this band was different from all others. This album was what their die hard fans needed. Something different from the same sound simply because Jordan is “Gone”, might I just add, too much of a coincidence his last sond one the ladt record was “I’m Gone” then he left.. anyway, Josh is what this band needs. I have nothing but faith in my boys and look forward to hearing their next masterpiece. Bless to “The Pier” you guys rock…keep dupporting good Music. RESPECT ….MVMTJUNKIE4LYFE

  9. Nude bro says:

    Been a fan of the movement since day one and I got to agree with Tommy Dubs on his view of the album.

    Just like One More Night and now this, band lost what was special without Jordan and Josh working together.

  10. Garritos says:

    I have to say when clicking on this review I figured the pier would be soft balling this album and giving them a few mercy stars for all of the promotion that goes back and forth between them. I was pleasantly surprised to see a good, honest review that echoed my sentiment. As a movement fan, I feel this album was rushed to give them something to promote while on tour with Josh. Smiles seems to be doing the same thing in almost every song, Gary hardly does any of his signature fills (or insane hi-hat work) and Rafa should have only been used in a handful of songs along with Mark Boyce. Also Tommy was right on about the mix’s shortcomings.

    without Jordan and Josh together, I cant see this band ever progressing to its former highs. You cant replace the attack and stage presence of Jordan or the hooks and unique vocals of Josh with someone else.

    That being said I will continue to support this band and I still think they are better than most in this genre. I enjoyed their set at Caliroots Carolina but it did lack stage presence outside of JSmiles doing his thing.

    Mike and Tommy keep up the good work and also please dust off that recording Care (you dont even) and re-mix and release it. To me, its this band at its best!

  11. CDF_music says:

    OUCH! 2.5 stars? Seems low. Certainly reviews are opinions, and nowhere do opinions vary more largely than art/music. My opinion would be 4 or 4.5 stars – Side by Side may not be Set Sail, but its pretty close. I will refrain from commenting on mix/compression/EQ/etc, and leave that discussion to the experts of audio recording, which I am not. I think the beauty and genius in what the Movement does (and it’s become evident that the style I’m referencing is largely from Josh, as One More Night does not really reflect this as much) is at the core of why Tommy Dubs scores this album so low. For all intents and purposes, the music itself – I’m talking guitars/basslines/drums – is relatively simple and repetitive, and is meant to be (and this holds true going back to Set Sail and On Your Feet). The Movement was never a riff happy, guitar shredding, 5th-year-grad-school-advanced-music-theory-type-of-sound. Much like hip-hop, they take a simple chord progression, a cool bassline, and a good beat to set the canvas for the vocals, and it is in this arena that this band seems to separate themselves in the genre. The style, delivery, pace, and melodies present in the vocals is unique in their sound when set against the other vocalists in the genre (the only others that compare in a similar style are Kyle from Stoopid and Bradley Nowell, and I don’t think anyone would consider their vocal efforts 2.5 stars). Musically, sometimes less is more, and I don’t have an issue with doing root and 5th basslines if it sounds cool and works in the song, which I feel it does. Creating a perfect musical flow from beginning to end of a song is something the Movement does masterfully. It’s interesting that Tommy Dubs sees songs like Side By Side, Popul Vah, and Moonshine as “pretty standard reggae rock songs”, while someone like myself sees those tunes as stand-out classics from the album – the melodies and phrasing in Side by Side are super sick, and I don’t see anything “pretty standard” about the vocal pace, flow, and lyrics of Popul Vah. Not sure how to comment on certain songs being buried, I can’t think of a reason why the order of the songs would affect my opinion of the album as a whole – that rationale seems somewhat hokey to me. I do agree that it would be unfair to compare the Movement to Led Zeppelin – from what I can gather, the Movement didn’t “allegedly” rip off one of their opening band’s riffs and claim it as their masterpiece (Stairway) nor did they take countless dated blues tunes and pawn them off as their own creative genius (I’m joking, but not really). Just to be clear, I am not related to nor have I ever met a single member of this band, and have nothing to gain from their success other than the continued enjoyment of their music and live performances. Thanks for reading, keep THE MOVEMENT tunes coming!

  12. james lisicky says:

    if someone has to defend their own review you know i know they were wrong. I am a big listener of reggae, i prefer roots regggae ska from jamaica. I grew up on bands like the heptones, peter tosh, culture, clinton fearon, jah earlocks and toots. Lets be real a white reggae band from the u.s is like a white boy trying to rap. The movement is diff,there a moevemnt, its more then a name. Tommy you took the album and came up with your own answer. WHat is yor knowledge on reggae? Jamaicans invetnded dub reggae. you want heavy bass, ever here of lee scratch perry? This cd is built on jamacian dub thats what reggae is. If your stereo can’t handle it, check your stereo not the cd. smiles is the sicketst bassist of our era we all know that. I wouldnt want to drown out thAt sound. I respect you or you wanting to defend your review. Truthfuly we all can unerstand a calculator, thats what your review is. You can add it up, but you can’t tadd it together. Its not a frog don’t disect it. This is the sickest band i am ever gonna hear. Its not jamaican reggae, its not poser whie boy, its a movement,.

  13. james lisicky says:

    cdf music josh didnt rush this. he put his life aside to give us a movent album.!. You dont thnk he had songs he wanted to do? He gave up his stable life to risk it all….

  14. Tommy Dubs says:

    James –

    Look its a review, I am supposed to dissect, I am supposed to be critical. I obviously struck a cord with you and I am not sure why you are being so personal. If you want to know about where I come from, my musical background or how I form my opinions I would be glad to discuss. I will even send you links to work I have done in the Dub, Dancehall, Roots, Ska, Rock Steady, Hip Hop Rock world. I stand by my review.

  15. Tommy Dubs says:

    One other thing…… This CD was not built on Dub, there is not one element of dub on this cd. Echo on a guitar is not dub. Dub is versions of songs where an engineer is turned into the main creative driving force by muting, delaying, effecting and messing with the track to create a new version.

  16. Mac says:

    Reading James’ retorts made my head hurt. This is a review, and you’re attacking someone way outta your league. Grow up. One Love.

  17. CDF_music says:

    Great, now James Lipnicky is yelling at me for comments someone else made. Why’d you have to go and get him all riled up like that Tommy…. ;)

  18. Killtimmy says:

    The movement…. Name says it all

  19. Scott Davis says:

    BTW….Jim…you do realize that the Movement opened up for 311 and were on their cruise. While I love The Movement and their vibe if you think 311 is a shitty band….what does that say for the Movement? Your entitled to your opinion but use some logic in your thinking. Try some Urge or Fear Nuttin Bank…maybe it will help your mood!

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