The Movielife
Forty Hour Train Back To Penn


4.0
excellent

Review

by hybridofsound USER (37 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 13 replies | 7,610 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


2 of 3 thought this review was well written

The Movielife - Forty Hour Train Back To Penn


Released: 2003 (Drive-Thru Records)

Band:
Vinny Caruana - Vocals
Phil Navetta - Bass
Brandon Reilly - Guitar
Evan Baken - Drums
Dan Navetta - Guitar

Bio:
R.I.P The Movielife. A week today will mark one year since one of the freshest pop-punk acts the scene has seen called it quits and went their own ways. The bands origin began in Long Island in early 1997. The band were influenced from both hardcore and pop-punk. They grew from playing shows in their basement to clubs all other Long Island. At the beginning of 2000 on their own effort they released their first album It's Go Time. Heavy touring boosted the groups profile and later that year the band would release This Time Next Year on Revelation Records. September 2001 saw the band release [URL=http://www.musicianforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=180793]The Movielife Has A Gambling Problem E.P[/URL] on Drive-Thru records. The record marked a change in the bands sound as they moved into a poppier direction. Whilst touring the E.P the band suffered a car crash. The incident left some members close to death and the bands nerve shaky. Fortunately for the band Glassjaw and New Found Glory helped them get their confidence back inviting them to gig around New York with them. The band headed back into the studio confidence restored and would release their final album in 2003 Forty Hour Train Back To Penn. The band would disband officially on September 29th (Post found [URL=http://www.themovielife.com/site/index.php]here[/URL]). After 6 years the band would call it quits.

Review:
Looking at this album the best place to start is with Vinnie, the frontman. His voice is what makes the band and his lyrics make the songs. For the most part his vocals on the album are done with confidence and sound great. They've made a big improvement over the years of The Movielife and here they are at their finest (though some of this is because of the Drive-Thru production). His voice has a nice range aswell which is highlighted all throughout the album. Face or Kneecaps, Hey and Ship to Shore all showcase his vocal talent. It's Something is the only weak spot vocally on the album. But what's a good voice without decent lyrics? Fortunately Vinnie delivers here. His lyrics may not be made of brilliant metaphors but they're open and honest. This album is basically 11 different stories such is the way that Vinnie writes his songs. There are some nice clever lyrics in Kelly Song "Kelly cries, the make up runs from her eyes and spills the truth.. about how she feels inside". Jamestown details the events of the van crash which almost left the band dead. "Late night snowfall, get us to the hospital. Jamestown 94 West and a forty-hour train back to Penn". The lyrics for the most part are strong and well written.

For some people pop-punk musicianship is an oxymoron. While The Movielife don't push the boundaries of pop-punk in musicianship they are still a confident group of people that can come up with some nice riffs. For the most part for the guitars its power chord progressions with some melody on top. Nothing brilliant but it still sounds good. Scary and Face or Kneecaps all have nice guitars riffs within them. The bass could be more audible but it does its job and the band utilise it nicely in some drum & bass bridges. It's not Flea but it's solid. The drummer is the standout member of the band in terms of musicianship for me. The drumming ranges from standard punk 200 tempo speed drumming to slow bass heavy beats. Ship to Shore shows off his talent. The musicianship is not the focus of this band but it does its job admirably and sounds just right.

Track by Track:

Face or Kneecaps
Right from the beginning of the album the energy kicks in. The song opens with a nice chord progression moves into a chorus without vocals then in comes Vinnie with the verse. The energy in the song constantly builds up through the verses, pre-chorus then into the chorus. This song is great. The verses work brilliantly. The chorus is catchy as hell "Under the circumstance, you acted like a kid and just walked away" sings Vinnie. This is the first of many songs which will be stuck in your head for days after listening to this album. After the second chorus comes in a bridge where Vinnies vocals are emphasised. A nice little build up to the final chorus with just the guitar and Vinnies voice then bang the final chorus. This song has energy coming out everywhere. The vocals and lyrics are great. It's a Movielife classic and they could not have picked a better song to open the album with. 10/10

Jamestown
As earlier mentioned this is a song about the bands van crash which almost left them dead. The drums bring in the song then it kicks into the verse. The guitars work nicely here. Playing the chords then muting the treble strings. The alternation works well. Vinnes vocals sound nice here aswell. The structure of the song is very similar to the previous song but the chorus does a good job of distinguishing itself from the rest of the album. The pace slows down a bit while Vinnie sings "Late night, snowfall. Get us to the hospital. Jamestown 94 west and a 40 hour train back to Penn". Nice drumming in this song with alot of cool fills. The final chorus works very well with just guitar and Vinnie before everyone comes in for the end. Another bucketload of energy along with tight vocals and lyrics makes this song a goodie. Not quite up to the standard of Face or Kneecaps but good none the less. 8.5/10

Spanaway
This song seems a little bland. Doesn't do anything to really distinguish itself from the previous songs except for opening with clean chords. It's hard to write much about this song. It sounds a bit like the songs off The Movielife has a Gambling Problem EP. There doesn't seem to be the same energy of the previous songs and the lyrics are somewhat average. This song is ok to listen to it's just nothing special. 5/10

Kelly Song
This how pop-punk is ment to be done. Catchy, hooky and full of energy. Opens with a clean guitar riff and Vinnie singing "Kelly cries, the make up runs from her eyes and spills the truth.. about how she feels inside". A clever little lyric then the drums and bass kick in. The song builds up the energy into the chorus and it works well. The chorus is catchy as hell and the song is brilliant. Well written lyrics along with a huge amount of energy from Vinnie and that oh so catchy chorus make this another great song. 9/10

Takin' It Out and Choppin' It Up
This sounds a little like some of the older Movielife. Kicks in with bass, drums and a little guitar riff. Before building up into the verse. I really like the tone of Vinnies voice in this song. An open song to an ex the lyrics are nicely written in the verses "I understand that you couldn't take it, couldn't take it anymore. I understand that you had your problems, maybe more than I saw". The chorus though is the most infectious and catchy of the album yet. "Come on, come on. Shut up, shut up. I hope this song will shut you up" sings Vinnie, the lyrics may seem a tad cliché but you will be singing this chorus for days, weeks possibly months to come. The final chorus works well with a high pitched guitar riff coming in and the tempo slowing down. Another brilliant song. 10/10

Scary
16ths on the snare build up, in comes a pick slide and bang you're into the song. Like most of the songs on this album the intro is short and sweet. I like the music on this song. The guitars on the verses have an almost distant sound before kicking in to full distortion then breaking off again. The lyrics of the verses here stand out again "I'm choking on the ashes of my soul or what's left. You sure did the trick, well planned attack and brilliant disguise". Mix in the verses with yet another hell catchy chorus and you make for a good song. The chorus has a simple but nice guitar riff going over it. Vinnies vocals here are at his best. 9/10

Hey
The song begins with clean chords and Vinnie singing. This song is in terms of structure possibly one of the most generic type of pop-punk songs you can have but that doesn't stop it being a brilliant song. The verses are great, some standout lyrics include "We'd fall asleep, but not before we exorcised the evil thing that everyone hides". It's a simple love song but still a catchy one. This song is probably the best in terms of vocals for Vinnie. The melody of his voice is emphasised here. There's a nice little guitar solo in the song aswell. 9/10

Jamaica Next
The short and sweet intro formula begins to wear a little thin by this song. This song is average lyrically but Vinnies voice manages to make the song sound great. It's a nice song to listen to just don't analyse it or it wears thin. There's no doubt that Vinnies voice saves this song. There's alot of emotion within it and in the bridge he pushes to his highest note possible. The chorus is as usual catchy. It's not really a bad song just nothing new to the album. 7/10

It's Something
This song would have sat right at home on the Gambling Problem EP. Vinnies vocals here are at their weakest. It sounds as if this was recorded at three am one morning after hitting the town in the verses. The verses here make a welcome change in terms of music from the rest of the album. Being driven by the bass and drums with a small amount of guitar. As much as I dislike the song the chorus is still catchy and I find myself singing along sometimes. The only real let down is Vinnies vocals in the verse. It's nothing amazing lyrically. 6/10

Keep Never Changing
Damn those short intros! The song opens like most other songs on the album before it kicks into the verse. This is the albums fastest song. I like some of the lyrics here "Not saying it's right, Not saying it's wrong. It's just the way I chose to go, Not saying it's wrong". Vinnies vocals are nice here, not at their best but they sound good. Alot of energy in the song. The speed of the song takes away from the musicianship though there is a nice bridge with just palm muted guitar. A lot of emotion from Vinnie is portrayed in this song. 7.5/10

Ship to Shore
Same intro structure here but the song is good so that doesn't take away from the song. This is as emo as The Movielife gets this song. The chorus and pre-chorus pour out with emotion in Vinnies voice and the lyrics here are top notch. A song about missing home, friends and girlfriends. "I need to see my friends and I want my family. Germany is beautiful, but I wanna go home. I swear I'll sleep again, I'll sleep again. Happiness is my own bed". Possibly this song points to why the band disbanded. The bridge of this song is great. The energy winds right down before exploding then winding down again. Does this a few times with the huge amount of emotion from Vinnie. One of the albums best songs and has that closing feel to it. The final chorus is great with two vocal layers working together. 9/10

Sailor Tattoos
This is sort of a goodie for any old Movielife fans. This song is nothing like anything else on the album. It's the old Movielife. The drive-thru sheen isn't there and you can see how much Vinnies voice has progressed from the past to this album. It's a good song lyrically but the vocal melody means I hardly listen to this song. If you like the old Movielife then this song will deserve a higher rating in your books but for me it's rather average. 3/10

Conclusion
How you enjoy this album will come down to how you like your music. If you like it with nice production, good melodies and intelligent lyrics then this album is for you. There is no denying that the switch to Drive-Thru changed The Movielife's style of music but for me it was for the better. They would have been hard pressed to go out on much of a better album than this. There are alot of standout songs with only a few weak moments. Pop-Punk is ment to be done like this. Check out any of the 9/10 or 10/10 songs if you are curious about this band. This album may be a little to generic to convert everyone to The Movielife but it does have alot of merit and is a standout in its genre. For that reason I give it...

Rating: 4/5



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user ratings (72)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
hybridofsound
September 22nd 2004



131 Comments


It's Something
This song would have sat right at home on the Gambling Problem EP. Vinnies vocals here are at their weakest. It sounds as if this was recorded at three am one morning after hitting the town in the verses. The verses here make a welcome change in terms of music from the rest of the album. Being driven by the bass and drums with a small amount of guitar. As much as I dislike the song the chorus is still catchy and I find myself singing along sometimes. The only real let down is Vinnies vocals in the verse. It's nothing amazing lyrically. 6/10

Keep Never Changing
Damn those short intros! The song opens like most other songs on the album before it kicks into the verse. This is the albums fastest song. I like some of the lyrics here "Not saying it's right, Not saying it's wrong. It's just the way I chose to go, Not saying it's wrong". Vinnies vocals are nice here, not at their best but they sound good. Alot of energy in the song. The speed of the song takes away from the musicianship though there is a nice bridge with just palm muted guitar. Alot of emotion from Vinnie is portrayed in this song. 7.5/10

Ship to Shore
Same intro structure here but the song is good so that doesn't take away from the song. This is as emo as The Movielife gets this song. The chorus and pre-chorus pour out with emotion in Vinnies voice and the lyrics here are top notch. A song about missing home, friends and girlfriends. "I need to see my friends and I want my family. Germany is beautiful, but I wanna go home. I swear I'll sleep again, I'll sleep again. Happiness is my own bed". Possibly this song points to why the band disbanded. The bridge of this song is great. The energy winds right down before exploding then winding down again. Does this a few times with the huge amount of emotion from Vinnie. One of the albums best songs and has that closing feel to it. The final chorus is great with two vocal layers working together. 9/10

Sailor Tattoos
This is sort of a goodie for any old Movielife fans. This song is nothing like anything else on the album. It's the old Movielife. The drive-thru sheen isn't there and you can see how much Vinnies voice has progressed from the past to this album. It's a good song lyrically but the vocal melody means I hardly listen to this song. If you like the old Movielife then this song will deserve a higher rating in your books but for me it's rather average. 3/10

Conclusion
How you enjoy this album will come down to how you like your music. If you like it with nice production, good melodies and intelligent lyrics then this album is for you. There is no denying that the switch to Drive-Thru changed The Movielife's style of music but for me it was for the better. They would have been hard pressed to go out on much of a better album than this. There are alot of standout songs with only a few weak moments. Pop-Punk is ment to be done like this. Check out any of the 9/10 or 10/10 songs if you are curious about this band. This album may be a little to generic to convert everyone to The Movielife but it does have alot of merit and is a standout in its genre. For that reason I give it...

Rating: 4/5

cbmartinez
September 22nd 2004



2525 Comments


Awesome review. I always wanted to check out The Movielife, but never got around to it. Kelly is the only song I heard, it was hot.

hybridofsound
September 24th 2004



131 Comments


Bump until Bartender see's this review.

Dark Hero
September 24th 2004



160 Comments


You might wanna fix your title, you called the band The Movelife.

Edit: Oops! I didn't see that on your thread.

biografiend
September 24th 2004



55 Comments


the movielife is the only band i have ever liked on drive-thru records.

CommieCanada
September 25th 2004



68 Comments


been meaning to pick this up

GarinStone
September 25th 2004



4 Comments


Agreed, one of the (if not the only) non feces laced recordings from Drive Thru. Pick it up, its right next to my cacophony cd atm :P

AtTheDriveIn198d
October 27th 2005



158 Comments


good album, lyrics let it down at points.

Crack City Rocker
February 28th 2006



19 Comments


The Movielife and Rx Bandits are the only bands on drive-thru that i like. But now since The Movielife split, Vinnie formed the band I Am the Avalanche who now have a release on drive-thru so check it out theyre a good band i saw them live they did very well.

accompliceofmydeath
November 3rd 2010



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This shits on a lot of pop punk nowadays.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2012



17195 Comments


Nostalgiaing hard.

accompliceofmydeath
April 28th 2012



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Recover the pieces, recover the pieces



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