Moving Mountains – Moving Mountains

written by: September 20, 2013
Album-art-for-Moving-Mountains-by-Moving-Mountains Release Date: September 10, 2013


As the decision to self-title its third full-length album may suggest, Moving Mountains seems less concerned with progression than with calcifying an already solid sound and building off of its current body of work.

Note that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—after more than six years, the group certainly has a formidable grasp on its own style. But this has yet to truly set Moving Mountains apart from similar artists, including many Triple Crown/Deep Elm Records label mates of past and present who, among others, laid the groundwork for the particular breed of wistful, ambient alternative from which “MovMou” builds.

While the LP is certainly the band’s most mature yet, it feels strikingly more grounded. Admittedly, it results from an apparent decrease in experimentation, save for a new, heavy use of electronics.

Part of this may stem from a desire to move toward a radio-friendly sphere—not typically thought to be a fruitful move, with regard to artistic integrity—but in doing so, the band’s output has become more cohesive. Far gone are the days of the shrieking lyrical harmonies and nine-minute movements found in past releases, for better or for worse.

If Moving Mountains has decided to go to the true mainstream, maintaining its less-than-poppy elements will be what makes it happen, allowing the band to set itself apart with a definitive brand.

Despite the new style featured throughout the album, it starts in familiar territory. Moving Mountains begins as just about all the others have: an ambient drone, which soon introduces the somewhat underwhelming first track, “Swing Set.”

This may be all too intentional, however, as it allows for the following number, “Burn Pile,” to kindle the forceful, goosebumps-inducing waves of sound that Moving Mountains cultivates so well. (The deep tubular bell tolls are a very nice touch.)

Rolling acoustic strums open “Hands”—one of the best tracks on the album—and are later accompanied by a brass section in a way that may best be described as orchestral. “Hudson” seems to echo the abrasive nature of some of Moving Mountains’ past works, by way of a quicker tempo at first (complete with a few stout guitar licks) before the track slows, until finally descending into a mess of feedback.

At its best, Moving Mountains weaves intricate guitar parts through complementary effects, peppered with euphorically thoughtful instrumentation. At its worst, the band sounds like an updated rip-off of The Fray.

Moving Mountains’ third LP has a near-even split of both polar ends. Notable are the handful of tracks that blend the two elements well: poppy, middle-of-the-road light rock, and piquant, ambient post-something. If Moving Mountains can perfect the combination and further develop a more personal signature, it may very well find incredible success.

Moving Mountains – Moving Mountains tracklist:

  1. “Swing Set”
  2. “Burn Pile”
  3. “Hands”
  4. “Seasonal”
  5. “Eastern Leaves”
  6. “Hudson”
  7. “Under a Falling Sky”
  8. “Chords”
  9. “Apsides”