Following an outpour of praise for their 2020 sophomore album ‘No Good Left To Give’, Movements once again find themselves testing the waters with a reimagined sound on their latest release. Made up of Patrick Miranda (vocals), Ira George (guitar), Spencer York (drums), and Austin Cressey (bass), the quartet has gained over a million listeners since forming in 2015. In continued collaboration with producer Will Yip (Code Orange, Turnover, La Dispute), the Orange County rockers took to the East Coast to create ‘RUCKUS!’, a collection of songs which combines “classic Movements” post-hardcore with pop and punk influences, deriving inspiration from the stylings of Gorillaz and The Strokes. In Miranda’s own words: “…I don’t think we’ve ever written music that’s as good as what we put together for this record.” 

‘You’re One Of Us Now’ is easily the most intense opener of the band’s catalogue thus far. It is introduced with a rousing crowd, leading into a quick build-up of fierce riffs and heavy drum patterns against Miranda’s unrestrained vocals. Each lyric cuts with the resentment of being trapped in a relationship in which you’ve given your all, just to lose yourself entirely. While the track is explosive early on, it comes to a breakdown of tamed instrumentation and a passage of reflection that reaches a defeating final word: “I lost myself trying to get you to spit me out. I gave my mind and gave my health, it looks like heaven, feels like hell. You chewed me up until you finally broke me down. And you turned me into someone else, and I don’t recognise myself.”

Movements aren’t unburdened just yet. ‘Killing Time’ is a change of pace with a steady bass line, a capricious guitar melody and calmer vocals. The track takes sharp turns for the chorus as the melodies are played out with Miranda earnestly insisting that “No one can love me like you do.” ‘Lead Pipe’ initially seems as though it’s more pop than punk with its catchy lyrical structure and electronic dance-pop beat. The band doesn’t stray too far from their hard rock sensibilities this early on, as the song progresses into a call-and-response anthem. 

On the other hand, ‘Heaven Sent’ takes a completely different tone. It is bright all-around, abandoning angst-ridden themes in favour of a tune that is lighthearted and affectionate. Inspiration from The Strokes shines through sunny guitar melodies, but the songwriting overall possesses an indie pop quality. ‘Tightrope’ holds similarly, a lovesick lament with an opening key arrangement reminiscent of a LANY instrumental. Punky textures are looped back in for the remainder of the song, setting up for the comparably heavier ‘I Hope You Choke’ and ‘Fail You’. Closing track ‘Coeur D’Alene’ contrasts the record’s opener as it is not brash nor broken, rather it employs thoughtful storytelling to share snapshots of a devoted love built upon “Art galleries, phone calls, Coeur d’Alene.”  On an album packed with emotion, this track touches a nerve. 

Branching out to incorporate different genres can be hit or miss. For Movements, ‘RUCKUS!’ is a hit. The group expands on their sound comfortably without a drastic switch-up. The ten tracks are distinctively Movements, but their ability to try things differently creates interesting twists. For post-hardcore purists and those longing for ‘Daylily’ pink-cloud summers, ‘RUCKUS!’ may take some getting used to. But as the band’s name might indicate, stagnancy is the last thing to expect from them.

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