Review Summary: A plummet into mediocrity.
One problem with embracing an experimental bunch like Moving Mountains is that they always hold the potential to break our hearts. Many of us fell in love with Pneuma
, a breathtaking exercise in ambient post-rock, and started to develop a bond with Moving Mountains that would not easily be broken. Of course, like the end of any relationship, it typically goes one of two ways: either a gradual rift develops between the two parties involved and that initial sense of undying earnestness begins to decay, or it all ends at once – blindsided by an abrupt change of heart. Anyone who has been in their fair share of relationships will tell you that both are painful experiences; however, what we don’t
see coming always hurts us more than what we can brace ourselves for. And like a deer in headlights, many avid fans of Moving Mountains will find themselves enduring the hardship of a disappointingly brief relationship with a band they thought
It isn’t that change is always a bad thing – often it is what propels a band to reach the peak of its potential. The main problem is what
Moving Mountains has chosen to become with its second full-length. When we first set our eyes and ears upon them, they were graceful, elegant, and powerful. They were well-composed and truly stunning, engaging us in a unique combination of post-rock and ambient, experimental hardcore. Now, a mere four years later, they have aged grotesquely. Gone is the curious sparkle in their eye that captivated our attention, as it has been replaced with generic, straightforward post-hardcore that rarely deviates from well-known clichés. Gone are the textured displays of musical craftsmanship that made songs like ‘The Earth and the Sun’ such a sensually pleasing experience, ushered out by simplistic, muddled instrumentation the likes of which can be found in ‘Where Two Bodies Lie’, ‘Alleviate’, ‘Full Circle’, and a handful of other tracks. Portions of Waves
are just loud for the sake of being loud (here’s looking at you, ‘My Life Is Like a Chase Dream’), with minimal substance at the foundation. Talk about letting yourself go
. This is the definition of strained, and Waves
’ broad vacancy in the ideas department shouts a message louder than vocalist Gregory Dunn ever could: Moving Mountains, you’ve changed…and I’m not sure that I like who you’ve become
What might make Waves
hurt even more is that we can still see traces of the band we fell in love with. For as shocking as the departure in their sound is, there are still enough atmospheric, uplifting tendencies in tracks like ‘Tired Tiger’ and ‘Once Rendering’ to make us want to hold onto hope that something more meaningful could come out of listening to this record. However, Waves
only comforts us with reminders of the past, and it doesn’t offer us anything new and exciting to look forward to in the future. At one time, Moving Mountains may have been a band full of fresh ideas, full of ambition…but now they lay restless, tossing and turning in a bed of exhausted ideas. Even the things they used to do to make us happy, such as the use of trombones and xylophones, seem to have fallen by the wayside. Only time will tell if the limited offerings on Waves
are enough to make us want to stick around; but seeing as we are only two albums deep in their discography, all indications are that it’s time to move on.