A horrible hack

Moving Mountains

Pneuma

Year Released: 2008
Format: CD
Label: Deep Elm
 
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Mar 27, 2008
Well, it had to happen sooner or later - the first digital promo that the C has been sent. Download a zip file with the songs, artwork and other assorted bumf. I don't have too much of an issue with that, but what does make me raise an eyebrow is that these songs are at 192kbps. Why spend any money on production at all when you're going to dish your songs out at a quality that is substantially poorer than that of a CD, yet alone vinyl.

Moving Mountains are the latest in a line of bands to blend long songs that feature fx-ed up guitars (commonly referred to as post rock) with indie rock. I was a bit worried initially as "Aphelion" opens up the album with screamy vocals, and I just wasn't ready for a long old album of this kind of thing. Luckily they drop them pretty quickly, the sung vocals on the rest of this album are much more effective and the harsh screams just mean the band will get stacked up against the likes of Envy and City of Caterpillar, which is a war that they just don't want to wage. At least they don't crop up too often. Tracks like "Cover the Roots" demonstrate the sung vocals to great effect, and also ease off on the guitar FX. Songs like this fit well with past Deep Elm band, Desert City Soundtrack. Mid-paced, rolling, moody indie rock that only leans on the screaming occasionally, and is all the better for it. Of course, it's still 5 minutes long so there is plenty of opportunity to layer on the layers, concoct a sound that reviewers will casually refer to as epic, and wibble about with pedals. I am quite keen on the indie / emo aspect of their music, but it does tend to get buried under the weight of their desire for the big sound, sadly. "Alastika" in particular has some great indie rock / emo parts that should have been allowed to breathe rather than heavy-handedly swamped, although again it is still a good song. Things change pace with the glacial electronica of "Bottom Feeder", bit unexpected but very nice! And then you get handed "Sol Solis", which is a pleasantly strummed song, more like Iron and Wine or something. Again it works well, even though it feels a bit out of place in the context of what went before. They save the best for last though, standout track is the poppy "Ode We Will Bury Ourselves" which sounds like Jimmy Eat World. Classic Dawsons Creekmo.

On the whole, I do enjoy this record, even if it is not recorded in the exact same way that I would have gone about it. I think that if you enjoy cheesy, indie rock bands that have a very hefty post rock influence, such as Gracer, then you'll enjoy this album too. With additional listens it grew on me for sure.

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