Review Summary: Contemporary Movement works on thin and unstable ground, never fully asserting itself out of fear of rejection.
I’ve been struggling to formalise my thoughts on Contemporary Movement
for a couple of months now, and I’ve finally realised what the problem is: I simply don’t have that much to say. Ever since I slunk out of the apathetic haze I engulfed myself in during my teenage years depressing music hasn’t really spoken to me. The resigned despondency Duster mope around in is something I haven’t experienced in a long time; I can only just feebly empathise with them. But, although it may not draw out any sort of visceral, emotional response in me, I can still appreciate it for its accurate insight into all-encompassing melancholy. The plodding, cloudy atmospheres, the humble, melodic flourishes that smack of sad beauty; Contemporary Movement
works on thin and unstable ground, never fully asserting itself out of fear of rejection. By virtue of this it leaves a lot open to interpretation; fill in the gaps for yourself by projecting onto the sparse and only vaguely evocative lyrics, dispelled through a strained, quiet voice. “And you were close to what you wanted/close up/open up” stands out particularly for me, bringing up that tired story of how fear of intimacy prevents anything meaningful, prevents you from grasping the very thing you want. Self-defeating armour. But, like I said above, there is no immediate reaction to this for me, no reaction to lyrics that a few years back would have made me bawl in a pathetic heap. In fact I’d say I get more emotional catharsis from mulling this album over post-listen than I do actively hearing it. All the textured, sand-paper rough melodic beauty strewn throughout this defies immediate satisfaction, instead instilling echoes of feeling and meaning for future dissection. And now I realise I’m getting quite self-indulgently personal over an album I supposedly only feel distantly attached to. I guess it’s just that the distant attachment is intriguing in a strange way; I feel deeply invested in Contemporary Movement
, and not for the immediate content it provides, but for the image it leaves behind; because it represents something I felt at some time that I can no longer pin my finger on exactly. And whereas for many records that indistinctness would be a detriment, here it’s a welcome puzzle.