. In 1973, Roger Waters wrote: “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.” And while that may still ring true today, the early success of the young Alternative rock group, Movements, seems to suggest that here in America; we prefer our desperation loud and aggressive.
There was a time in the early and mid 2000’s when Alternative and Indie rock was a genre of angry teens, thrashing guitars, and sharp-witted lyricism. Groups like Taking Back Sunday and Foo Fighters kept the harder, angrier side of Rock and Roll alive, while the earliest work of Fall Out Boy and Jack’s Mannequin took a more heavy pop approach. Musicians at this time, having grown up in the Grunge era of the early 90’s, were inspired by the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and it showed. There was a common theme of angst and heartbreak, laced over aggressive music and loud vocals, reminiscent of their predecessors.
However, as the turn of the century drew to a close, these groups matured, and with them, so too did the sound of their genre, leaving fans of the style understandably heartbroken.
This feeling continued, until the latter half of 2015 saw the release of Movements’ first single and video, Protection. With this, the twenty-something head bangers breathed a new life into a fan body, long presumed dead. After the song’s massive success, the anticipation for the next release was high and the pressure was on. Luckily, Outgrown Things doesn’t disappoint.
The EP opens on a thrashing, heavy pop tune, with somewhat Punk-esque roots. The song, entitled Kept, introduces the lyrical themes of the album right off the bat, as lead singer Patrick Miranda, desperately screams, “Give me something to believe in, and I’ll give you something to forget.” The record as a whole takes aim at the issues that the now twenty-year-old singer faces as he comes to the conclusion of his second decade. In a recent interview with “Casual Punk Fan,” Miranda spoke on many topics including his rocky paternal relationship with his father. He claims that his father doesn’t support his decision to leave school in favor of touring and writing, which leads to issues in his family. The angst of the young singer/songwriter blares over a listener’s speakers as he sings and screams about not being good enough, seeing himself as someone who is easily forgettable.He also touches on his own personal depression, wailing, “I hate myself, I am a wreck.”
These themes continue into my personal favorite track, Nineteen. Movements takes this song as an opportunity to slow down, while maintaining their edge, a feat not commonly accomplished by punk-pop bands. Miranda’s quick-witted lyricism and emotionally charged vocal delivery shines brighter in this piece than anywhere else. They also introduce a spoken word portion, an aspect they had pulled off well in Protection. Lines like, “Someday, I hope to make it clear to you that success is not determined by leather bound books and ink on paper, but rather the passion that I have found out of heartbreak and anger.” Are borderline tattoo worthy, as they rant against our culture’s desire to kill creativity in favor predictability. The singer writes, “I know that happiness is stability, but stability is not a desk job.” As the band closes the track with heavy drums and Miranda screaming “I am not my father’s son!” listeners will almost feel a desire to stop the music and reexamine their own lives.
Next comes Worst Wishes, a breakup song that perfectly captures the chaotic anger of the moment’s immediately following a split. Miranda touches again on his lack of self-esteem, in the song, which sums up the common threads of teenage reaction to the sudden disenchantment of life.
Hatchet follows, providing a bit of a change of pace. The angst on which the group’s sound is based remains, but Miranda’s wit is now aimed at an old argument that the singer just can’t seem to forget. The track is particularly impressive because of the level of difficulty in the writing. To capture the anger of an argument, yet simultaneously show remorse for the very fact that he is upset, is no easy task. Yet Miranda tackles it with a masterful and refreshing naivety. The metaphor of digging up the “hatchet” he had once buried runs through the whole composition and is remarkably clever.
Vacant Home returns one last time to the topic of growing up. The band claims that Patrick Miranda wrote the song in response to the news that his parents were selling his childhood home. Most of the vocals use the inventive form of melodic spoken word, which is frequent on the EP. As the singer desperately pleads with his parents to stay where they are, listeners slowly realize something that it seems even Miranda himselfdoesn’t realize: he isn’t just begging his parents to stay, he’s begging them not to change. He’s begging the whole world not to change, for that matter. Vacant Home exemplifies the feelings of every aging teen as perfectly as it has ever been done. The entire band is able to instantaneously beseech the world to stop spinning, and lash out at angrily as it refuses, all in one beautifully simple piece.
The EP finishes with Losing Fight a slower, acoustic jam that rehashes the themes of the last five songs, in a quick and economic way. It allows the listener to get a feeling for the remorse and underlying sadness that fuels this composition. Losing Fight is a masterful finish to an amazing piece.
Musically, the album is just as impressive. The drums carry an aggressive, driving beat with lightning fills and precise, often syncopated, rhythms. Drummer, Spencer York, finds a way to carry the anger and sharp wit of Miranda’s lyricism over into his own instrumentalism. Ira George plays guitar licks that would make any hard rock band lick its lips with jealousy. The bass guitar is especially impressive on this album. In true punk rock spirit, Austin Cressey laces every track with a rattling bass line that sets a solid foundation. They also introduce the idea of adding distortion to their bass guitar, a newer concept that sets them apart from the early 2000’s emo-punk bands. Doing this effectively blends the bass lines with the electric guitar, giving the band’s instrumentation an interesting tightness. The use ofspoken word throughout is an intriguing technique, allowing for more complex writings to carry heavy emotion.
This EP leaves many listeners hopeful for the future of Rock and Roll, as well as awestruck at the lyrical prowess of such a young writer. It’s many things, a revival of the emo-punk genre, an angry retort to parents who just don’t understand, and an impressive freshman release for the young group. Above all, however, this album is a soundtrack to teenage disenfranchisement. Movements isn’t just four angry teens in a garage, it is a new voice, for a new generation.