by Mateo Ottie CONTRIBUTOR (32 Reviews)
August 18th, 2023 | 4 replies

Release Date: 08/18/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I know I'll fail you again.

Ever since their debut EP in 2016, Movements have been defined by lyrical sadness and a melancholic focus on mental health struggles. This was especially apparent on the seminal ‘Feel Something’, a record that tackled themes of depression, anxiety, loss, and heartbreak with brutal honesty, wrapped up in a sound that authentically encapsulated the sense of dread and despair that those struggling with those topics related to heavily, myself included.

Their 2020 follow-up ‘Nothing Good Left To Give’ was a lot of the same lyrically, albeit opting for an instrumentally softer, post-indie direction. Very similarly to its predecessor, it too became a comfort album for me through my own battle with my mental health. Despite the sonic change, ‘NGLTG’ only seemed to further their reputation as a “sadboi” band, widely because of how much their lyrics have been focused on over the instrumentation, no matter how great it is- and that’s not at all a bad thing, but it might also not be the healthiest thing.

Fast-forward to three years later and well, things are looking a little different for the band, but especially for frontman Patrick Miranda’s headspace. Reinvigorated with a more positive outlook on life, a majority of the tracks are significantly lighter in tone, despite being just as inspired as ever. While the conversation surrounding mental health is still there on ‘Ruckus’, it takes a backseat and often holds a tinge of optimism when it does appear, such as on the defiant rocker “Lead Pipe”, which serves as an anthem for not letting your mental struggles define your life.

This overall outlook on these struggles isn’t the only thing that appears brighter on ‘Ruckus’, however, as the band trades their signature melancholic atmospherics for higher-energy guitars and groove-centric instrumentation on several of the albums’ tracks. This is especially the case on the sexually charged pop cuts “A.M.P.” and “Heaven Sent”, which stand as the happiest songs Movements have ever released, with a backbone of relaxed drumming from Spencer York and airy guitar chords. While I applaud and am genuinely happy for the band and their current mental status, unfortunately, these happier tracks do tend to be some of the weakest cuts on ‘Ruckus’, oftentimes lacking the subtleties and specificity that made the lyricism on their preceding albums so compelling and gripping.

That’s not to say there aren’t moments of genuine gloom however- I mean, it is a Movements record at the end of the day. “Tightrope” takes the place as the saddest song on ‘Ruckus’, bringing the band’s aforementioned melancholic atmospherics in to back Miranda’s lovesick self-deprecation. The song also features what is arguably one of the strongest vocal performances from Miranda to date, dripping with emotion as he puts his full singing range on display.

‘Ruckus’ is Movements’ most energetic and “rockiest” record on all fronts- a decision that the band is openly intentional about, and ultimately, it’s during these moments that the album truly shines. From the enticing rush of the opener “You’re One Of Us Now” to the danceable and dynamic lead single “Lead Pipe”, the album really shines the most when it is at its highest tempo. This is largely in part to Austin Cressey’s phenomenal bass work, with most of the songs being written around his riffs and grooves and only being complimented further by Will Yip’s production.

Furthermore, the album’s strongest moments come during its most aggressive and abrasive moments, exemplified on the anxiety-ridden retrospection of “Fail You”, and the pop-punk reminiscent “Dance With Death”. With soaring choruses and urgent verses, the songs serve as the heaviest the band have put out to date. The former of the two sits in an enthralling and intense state of tension that few tracks in the genre land in, fueled by Ira George’s seething riffage and Miranda’s yelled screams. These songs are also more dense lyrically and musically than the rest of the record, connecting with the listener on a deeper level than some of the aforementioned lighter/poppier tracks.

And this leads to the crossroads Movements find themselves in on ‘Ruckus’… For an album that is so much more focused on a more positive frame of mind, both its strongest and weakest moments seem to iterate that the band is just simply at their best when their music is at its saddest and/or angriest, as terrible as that sounds to say. At its core, ‘Ruckus’ is a VERY different album from ‘Feel Something’, as it rightfully should be- in 6 years, you’d hope a band is in a different place musically. The two albums arguably aren’t even in the same sub-genre, but despite this, ‘Ruckus’ will inevitably be compared to ‘Feel Something’, but that doesn’t mean it should. Is it a better record than it? No, absolutely not- but is it still a really good album worth your time with some of the best songs the band has released despite its flaws? Absolutely.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2023


Album Rating: 3.5

This is my first review I've had time to write in months. I overthought this one to oblivion so feedback is appreciated. Happy to be back.

August 18th 2023


Album Rating: 3.0

Really solid review. Echoes a lot of my own thoughts, just wish I enjoyed those positive moments a bit more. "Sad Pat > Horny Pat" always.

August 19th 2023


Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review man, agreed on a lot of your points but I really hope this grows on me more. Besides Dance With Death and Fail You I'm not really enamored with much of this.

Closer is pretty great too

October 28th 2023


Truely good review. Almost your opinion is similar to me, hope to see your feedback about rocket bot royale

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