On their new record No Good Left To Give—which is their sophomore full-length album and drops via Fearless Records on September 18—the California post-hardcore band Movements have captured a stirring musical look into precarious sides of everyday emotion.
Lyrically speaking, the group deal with themes from relationship turmoil to mental health struggles, and, on the sonically bright “Santiago Peak,” there’s even a sort of love letter to California. Yet, it’s not just the lyrics that communicate the emotional exploration in the band’s latest effort. The softly persistent indie rock/ post-hardcore instrumentation also feels, on its own, like stepping out on a (metaphorical) limb, with the band’s consistently strong songwriting as something like a slight stabilizer for the journey.
The dynamic melodies (which are built via rather traditional-sounding rock/ post-hardcore instrumentation) sound emotionally wavering yet persistent, like a flashlight journey out into some nighttime forest.
It’s clear by the album’s opening track, “In My Blood,” that Movements have captured something special. The song’s wistful riffs build into a more intricately propulsive set of emotional crescendos, and the music feels like it captures moments when palpable tension rises in one’s chest. In the real world, those moments could be fleeting, but Movements have aptly captured an illuminating exploration of these emotional corners.
On “Skin To Skin,” which immediately follows the album opener, Movements kick into a slightly more intense gear. Vocalist Patrick Miranda (who’s always powerful) smoothly increases the tension in his singing, and the rich and consistently propulsive instrumentation alongside his vocals delivers a cohesive sense of growing anticipation.
On follow-up track “Don’t Give Up Your Ghost,” Movements keep the emotionally powerful rock crescendos coming. Bright, attention-grabbing flashes of substantive but breathable guitar riffing flow alongside perfectly grounding bass lines and hopscotching drum rhythms.
Movements sound like experts with wielding dynamic swings within their sonic palette to communicate deeply moving emotional richness within their musical outpourings. On “Tunnel Vision,” Miranda moves smoothly from gently contemplative singing into bursts of roaring emotion during the chorus, when he sings, “Send my illness/ Into the trenches/ Desperate to end this/ Tunnel vision.” By the refrain, “This tunnel vision has been clouding my eyes,” Miranda is even louder.
Placed alongside the band members’ own journeys of growing up with the band (Miranda is currently in his mid-20s, for instance), No Good Left To Give sounds like a powerful musical reckoning with falling into the travails of that stage of adulthood in which you might be on your own.