Moving Mountains is a relatively unknown indie rock band whose terrific debut album and exposure on Vans Warped Tour should boost their popularity to a level this talented band deserves. With the release of their first full-length album, Moving Mountains prove themselves to be an incredibly capable and masterful group that pays uncanny attention to detail to squeeze every possible ounce of feeling and intelligence out of the indie/emo/post-hardcore hybrid found in each song. Waves swells with tempo, emotion, and intensity, mixing progressive hard rock with beautiful ballads that make this band diverse and incredibly deft as they weave together some downright majestic tracks, seamlessly rising and falling to create a debut album that captures the imagination. Gregory Dunn’s vocals and song-writing are largely responsible for this album’s inspiration and profound tone, delivering simple but poignant lines while wavering between brusque, intense shouts and crisp, smooth singing. From start to finish, Waves is a phenomenal and emotive experience not to be missed.
“Where Two Bodies Lie” is the first single from Waves, kicks off with the electric twang of blazing guitar riffs accompanied by upbeat drumming from Nicholas Pizzolato. At first it seems like this standout track will be a one-dimensional, head-banging mainstream rocker, but Moving Mountains quickly displays their versatility as calming guitar and Mitchell Lee’s bass give way to scaling strings during the heartfelt bridge, which is one particular area this band excels. Dunn’s vocals aren’t at their pinnacle here, but his clear-cut declarations of “Someday we’ll find / Our hearts will align” give the song extra meaning and hope.
“The Cascade” is the perfect example of Moving Mountain’s incredible dexterity in the composition of their songs and although it won’t get much credit elsewhere, is the best song on the album (narrowly edging “Once Rendering” for that position since they’re so similar). They lyrics aren’t over the top and are actually pretty repetitive, but this song lets the instruments do the talking: Pizzolato’s drumming is creatively upbeat, the guitar riffs evoke contemplative sentiments and Dunn’s echoing voice bares his soul here, reverberating with surprising composure despite the difficult subject matter of yearning for his deceased friend. The listener soaks all this in as the song’s soothing opening minutes give way to possibly the most transcendent bridge on Waves, finishing off a stellar track that manages to be remorseful and yet eerily beautiful at the same time.
Moving Mountains straddles the line between outright hard rock intensity and relaxing, contemplative ballads exceedingly well, and the emotionally fitting closer “Full Circle” is a pristine example of that ability. “We have a lot to learn, someday we’ll find love is nature,” Dunn begins as he shows off his full vocal repertoire by fluctuating between urgent wails and impassioned screams, rising and falling with the ever-changing tempo. The melancholy strings that help close the album out create another epic heartfelt moment and and despite this song’s dark, sad tone, its true meaning and masterful composition makes for one of the most sublime and uplifting experiences on Waves.
Waves isn’t a perfect album, but it’s an incredibly impressive debut that shows a lot of potential for this band’s future. The level of intricacy in each song lends to the artistry and sad (yet hauntingly beautiful) mood of the whole album. Moving Mountains’ work is nothing short of masterful, as the composition of each track shows an artistic intelligence behind the music; not only are the lyrics meaningful, but each instrument tells its own story. The addition of strings and even piano enhances the dramatic, slower moments while frantic drumming and heavy guitar riffs help with the album’s intensity. The masterful “Once Rendering” displays this contradiction well as opposed to the straightforward rocker “Alleviate,” which would be the one lackluster track of Waves if only for being so one-dimensional. Fans of Thrice, The Receiving End Of Sirens, The Dangerous Summer, O’Brother, Athletics and The Appleseed Cast will be right at home with Moving Mountains and should eagerly be anticipating the next chapter in this unique band’s story.
Final Score: 9/10
Rank: 1st (one total album)
- My Life Is Like A Chase Dream (And I’m Still Having Chase Dreams)
- Where Two Bodies Lie
- Tired Tiger
- The Cascade
- Once Rendering
- Always Only For Me
- Parts In Different Places
- Furnace Woods
- Full Circle