Review Summary: Will you love me...
Three years ago, Movements stunned with Feel Something
. The band’s debut album, chock-full of tight performances and rooted in raw, honest realism, seemingly came out of nowhere. Simply put, it mastered the basics of emo and fused this with indie rock and post hardcore to make for a gorgeous record. Guided by Patrick Miranda’s incredible voice and lyrics, the record resonated with tons of listeners around the world and became a massive success. In spite of this, Feel Something
seemed to have affected the musicians behind it as much as their listeners, albeit in a very different way. Thrust into the limelight, the anxieties surrounding second albums and ever-growing expectations appeared to overshadow Movements’ ability to truly revel in their newfound prosperity. While this could have easily been No Good Left to Give
’s downfall, it ends up being its rather paradoxical saviour. Fueled by anxiety, depression and even more grief than previously, this new album is a darker affair that treads and expands on familiar grounds for the band, while staying true to its unique sense of realism.
Desperate to end this tunnel vision
Rather impressively, Miranda manages to maintain his pristine, honest lyricism while adding layer upon layer throughout No Good Left to Give
before occasionally annihilating these altogether. He spends most of the album contemplating life, desperately trying to defy its title’s self loathing and reaching for any sign of light, only to find that this light may not be what it appeared to be. Seeping into the vicious ‘Tunnel Vision’ in the form of disguised ambiguity, after contemplating the scenes of his own funeral, the vocalist exclaims that he is ‘Desperate to end this tunnel vision’. It’s a rather devastating moment early on in the record; making one wonder whether this ‘end’ is a permanent one to all that encompasses the musician, or merely a wish to exit this side of depression. The final moments of the song see the entire band erupting into a chaotic explosion of sound, with some of the most visceral screams Miranda has ever laid down, making for a perfect ending filled with tangible hurt.
In spite of Movements presenting several moments of similar intensity, such as the powerful bridge of ‘Moonlight Lines’, No Good Left to Give
feels relatively subdued overall. On the one hand, this positions the record a notch below the band’s debut, where songs could be distinguished by a mere bassline, riff or one-liner. On the other hand, however, the more restrained feeling emitted by the album makes it a highly cohesive affair, affirming the motives of mental illness and feeling persistently insufficient for anyone. It’s a real double edged knife; the blood shed by its cuts both providing the record with strength as well as suppressing its potential to be more than what is showcased. Produced by Will Yip, every instrument sounds exceptionally crisp, while no one particular aspect is stressed at any point.
All I ever cause is pain / Fall in love then fall away
‘12 Weeks’ is the most impressively straightforward summarisation of No Good Left to Give
. Miranda, no stranger to blatantly honest lyricism, sheds any trace of disguising or hiding his feelings behind extensive metaphors and instead opts for a seeming stream-of-consciousness approach. Passionately exclaiming ‘My hands are shaking / I f*cking hate this’, the incredibly bare and bleak lyrics are performed and positioned with such care that its potential shortcomings of simplicity are immediately foregone. It’s a song (and album) about not feeling worthy of anyone; it’s a song about sheer self hatred. It’s not pretty, but it’s so goddamn raw and relatable. Hell, it’s not even particularly clever; it’s simply so unfiltered, so personal, that it is hard to deny the band’s ability to resonate.
No Good Left to Give
is a bleak listen. Like a seemingly endless frost, there is a gloomy beauty to the record, even if experiencing, or more importantly, relating to it, isn’t entirely enjoyable. Towards the end of the album, its consistently depressing nature can get somewhat exhausting; something which, yet again, manifests its thematic strengths as well as decreases its accessibility. When light can be perceived on ‘Moonlight Lines’, it ends up echoing through hollow walls. When ‘Santiago Peak’ threatens to take a turn for the positive, it instead opts for a quiet, wordless bridge. Feel Something
’s final moments found Miranda hoping for change, in spite of his persistent sadness. Here, the band’s second album concludes with the vocalist stating: ‘And now I’m cold and stiff’, with no hope in sight whatsoever. Annihilating any inkling of hope Movements may have transmitted, for better or for worse, it’s a fitting ending.
Will I ever have enough to give?
While No Good Left to Give
is not a significant step down from the band’s previous output, it is a deceptively challenging listen. Yet, while drenched in depression and powerlessness, Movements’ musicianship remains undeniably excellent. Explore this album with caution; its indie rock facade hardly disguises the sheer intensity of Miranda’s lyricism. However, as challenging as it can be, basking in the band’s absence of light is an oddly gratifying experience. If anything, Miranda’s desperation displays the necessity of hope. I sincerely wish for this hope to resurface for him in the near future, and anyone else lacking it in this moment. Until then, No Good Left to Give
serves as a reminder that beautiful art can come from unrestrained hurt.