The feels. I know in 2018 it’s an outdated meme, but I’m over 30, and my back is starting to hurt, so trends don’t hold the same weight anymore. What still grabs me – and what feels fairly timeless – is the type of aggressive and pensive post-hardcore that can bring even the most burly of us to the brink of tears. SoCal loud and sad gang Movements traffic in this exact type of music that was called emo 15 years ago, was associated with La Dispute and Defeater a decade ago, and is associated with Will Yip’s production now: it’s grungy, achingly emotive, and masters the dynamics needed to convey the full spectrum of the human experience. To be fair, the group’s debut, appropriate titled Feel Something, doesn’t exactly swing too far into the realm of feel good, but the empathetic heart of the record certainly contains its fair share of uplifting sentimentality that at least tries to balance out Patrick Miranda’s wonderfully evocative tales of sadness; “Deadly Dull”, the tale of an Alzheimer’s patient who has to find out every day that his wife passed away is particularly arresting.
All these feels can’t hide the fact that Movements are also masterful composers and musicians. Much of Feel Something does carry the strong weight of nostalgia in its well-balanced melodic post-hardcore, and Miranda’s voice is exceptionally familiar (though I can’t place the similarity). There isn’t a weak song to boot, though a few stand high above the rest (“Colorblind” and “Deep Red” are clear highlights). It also helps that Miranda, along with being a versatile vocalist (screaming, singing, and talking his way through the record), is also a sneaky great hook writer. While the tales of emotion designed to remind the listener that someone else knows what you’re going through will certainly linger, it’s the big riffs and bigger hooks that will certainly stay in your head for days.
Ultimately, Movements feel like they’re on the precipice of true greatness. This impressive and expressive debut grabbed an immediate hold of me and is every bit as impactful and enjoyable now; however, you get the sense that this is merely a warm-up to a real stunner of a sophomore effort. Time will tell, but the future (no matter how real the stories are) is quite bright for this loud and sad group.