Review Summary: Beautiful, raw honesty.
Words like ‘real’ and ‘fake’ have always interested me, especially when it comes to music. What makes an album feel ‘real’? What gives a band a sense of authenticity? While everyone will have different and countless answers to these questions, Movements’ debut album Feel Something
embodies ‘realness’ for me. The band’s brand of emo-infused indie rock provides the perfect vehicle for Patrick Miranda’s deeply personal lyrics, covering common subjects in unique ways.
“It comes in waves and I’m pulled below / It’s not subjective, it’s clinical / Drown myself in the undertow of all my imbalanced chemicals / And this cycle comes full circle / This cycle comes full circle again”
. The chorus of album opener ‘Full Circle’ not only introduces Movements’ brand of emo, but sets the somewhat desperate tone of Feel Something
. Throughout the record, a sense of longing is present. Miranda longs for something more, something better, something that’s not the way it is right now. While the topic of self loathing is a late horse with a blunt force trauma when it comes to emo revival, the frontman finds a way of conveying his thoughts in a unique way. By no means a perfect lyricist, his words are so raw and honest that the use of terms like ‘undertow’ is easily forgiven. Covering topics from depression to Alzheimer's, Miranda’s words are best described as a carefully crafted stream of consciousness. Or Brendan Murphy on a ***load of antidepressants.
The hopeful aspect of Feel Something
only emphasises the ‘realness’ of the album. Taken out of context, the repeated “You’ll be just fine”
in ‘Daylilly’ could seem like another ***ty “It will get better!!” song by an insignificant emo band, but Movements’ more positive moments impressively lighten the mood of the album. In many ways, Miranda seems to be addressing himself when he sings that “I think it’s time you found another reason to stay for a while”. A deeply personal look into the vocalist’s mind, it’s hard not to feel genuinely happy about the fact that Miranda sounds desperate to feel better, and realises that he does not deserve to feel the way he does.
However, the most hard-hitting moment on Feel Something
comes in the form of ‘Deadly Dull’. On this track, Miranda tells the story of a man and his wife, both suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In spite of the lyrics telling a rather specific story, ‘Deadly Dull’ is extremely raw and honest in its portrayal of having someone close to you lose everything that makes them who they are. Words like “A mind once sharp and full / Now clouded and diseased”
are simple, to the point but so goddamn real. In the second verse, Miranda’s powerful spoken word-esque vocal delivery is complemented by background vocals lamenting “It’s a deadly dull”
several times, creating one of the most hauntingly beautiful moments on the album.
Throughout Feel Something
, the vocals are a constant highlight. Besides being a fantastic singer, Miranda possesses powerful screams that are used sparsely but cleverly on the album. Single ‘Colorblind’ brilliantly builds tension towards a powerful bridge, where screams make for an intense moment of self hatred. While it’s easy for spoken word-passages in music to come off as over the top and pretentious, Movements uses them at all the right times. Album closer ‘The Grey’ ends the song and record on a careful moment of hopefulness, with Miranda saying “There’s comfort in the quiet, solitude and in rainy days”
creating an actual sense of comfort. Thankfully, the vocals never sound overproduced resulting in a genuine sounding record. Love him or hate him, Will Yip’s production allows all the instruments to shine and makes ‘Feel Something’ a pleasant listen.
The fact that Feel Something
does not rely on extremely technical playing only works in its favour. Movements sounds simply great throughout the record and using the instrumentals to match the lyrics is a brilliant move. When Miranda lets some hope shine through in his lyrics, the drumming gets breezier and the guitars less intense, creating the perfect atmosphere for a song like ‘Daylilly’. The longest track on the album titled ‘Deep Red’ combines an easily distinguishable bassline with lighter guitarwork, resulting in one of the best songs on Feel Something
. The contemplative mood of the track explodes into a noisy outro before ending on almost a minute of quiet guitars. While this might seem unnecessary, it allows for some space to breathe, a moment for the listener to take it all in and digest the song.
However, Movements’ debut LP is by no means a perfect album. It’s rather easy to pinpoint moments where the album’s flaws present itself: ‘Fever Dream’ is a bit too simplistic for its own good and ‘Submerge’ lacks the emotional punch most of the record has. Thankfully, these songs do not bring down the listening experience of Feel Something
as much as they could. Not a single track can be labeled as downright ‘bad’ and both aforementioned songs still have redeeming factors like lyrical brilliance or superb drumming. If anything, the weaker moments only make the album feel more genuine and human.
With Feel Something
, Movements have crafted a deeply personal debut album. The record is a huge improvement when compared to their older work, and has a unique sense of authenticity. Without a doubt one of the best records of the year, ‘Feel Something’ is one hell of a ‘real’ album.