Moving Mountains - Pneuma [reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains: Pneuma [reissue]Pneuma [reissue] (2008)
Deep Elm Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

There are times where you listen to a record and like it almost immediately; there are times you have to listen to a record three or four times before it hits you; and then there are the truly special times. The times where you only need to hear 30 seconds of an album to realize that it's going to b.
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There are times where you listen to a record and like it almost immediately; there are times you have to listen to a record three or four times before it hits you; and then there are the truly special times. The times where you only need to hear 30 seconds of an album to realize that it's going to blow you away.

Deep Elm's Moving Mountains provide one of those moments with Pneuma, one of those rare and indelible moments that remind or affirm why it is you listen to music in the first place.

I'm not going so far as to say the album is, or will be a classic, but I have no such qualms about saying that this cross-genre effort succeeds in every possible regard. From the sweeping grandeur of "Aphelion" and mesmerizing beauty of "Fourth," from the raw power and emotion of "Cover the Roots" to the understated melancholy of "Sol Solis," Moving Mountains run the gamut with only one constant remaining through all of the albums 45 minutes -- songwriting ability.

The aforementioned "Aphelion" packs a lot of punch in its two-and-a-half minutes. Somehow managing an epic sound in a miniscule timeframe, Moving Mountains begin the track gingerly, with tactful vibraphone and piano keystrokes before leading into lush atmospherics that quickly crescendo into the devastating vocals of Gregory Dunn. It all happens so quickly, but it sets the stage masterfully for even more breathtaking moments later on in the album.

"Cover The Roots / Lower the Stems" is Moving Mountains' foray into the late `90s Deep Elm sound, one rooted in power and conviction; Dunn adapts to this style well too, wailing away above a demure rhythm before the song kicks a notch higher and never looks back. The instrumentation sounds bigger by the minute, with a crescendo around the three-minute mark that rivals the best Explosions In the Sky has ever put to plastic. It's entrancing, the ability of this quartet to effortlessly blend styles and sounds for a sound so rich that ??gorgeous' just doesn't seem to do it justice.

There's not a track on the album that's less than stellar, but "Grow On, Grow Up, Grow Out" is Moving Mountains at their absolute, spellbinding best. The band starts with some clean, rhythmic chord progressions, before the light, airy vocals come into the mix, gradually picking up volume and intensity, just like the music behind it. The light pitter-patter of the drums becomes a cyclic pounding and the guitarists draw out their strumming until at once all is almost quiet again. Dunn sings gracefully over minimal instrumentation before a grand, sweeping current comes through and pushes all parts of the music louder, faster, and more intense before cresting amidst a wash of feedback.

It's not over yet.

The drums and guitars rush back in, feeding off each other's energy -- Dunn's voice lowly drones in the background, and the louder the sound the more beautiful the scene. The song's second crescendo is even louder and more captivating than the first, and as the track gentle carries out you're only going to want to hear it over again.

Moving Mountains have crafted, and emphasis on the word crafted, a very special album. All you'll need is 30 seconds to agree.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
LORDSHREDDER (July 9, 2008)

Thanks for this review. I am really enjoying this album now.
I think Brandtson was my favorite Deep Elm band. Too bad they got all techno, then just sort of stopped playing music. Hiatus?

feeeding5000 (July 9, 2008)

Least emo emo label ever. Bleeeeeh.

scully (July 9, 2008)

An absolutely beautiful album. That said unfortunately the Deep Elm version comes in a cardboard slip case. There's also a brief gap between tracks which hurst an album that flows so well from track to track. Anyone know where I can get an original version from?

blanktapesemptybottles (July 9, 2008)

Also, is this album based on the movie the fountain? if you search for lyrics there's a lot of trees and earth being sang about

blanktapesemptybottles (July 9, 2008)

I feel like this is what Chris Roe was trying to due with the last Ataris record

Archangel (July 9, 2008)

I've been waiting for this to get reviewed. Album is AMAZING. As much as it's something I would have attached to even more ferociously four or five years ago, I still can't get enough of 8105 and the last song. So much goes right here.

mystereohasmono (July 9, 2008)

One of the best records of 2007.

colin (July 9, 2008)

such a fucking great record. aces all around.

preston (July 9, 2008)

I think I work with this dude's brother.

insinceredave (July 9, 2008)

Just on my 3rd listen of this record and i've gotta say its a pleasant suprise. Reminds me of Mare Vitalis era appleseed cast.

Oh to the guy below, i'm sure i've got the re-issue from deep elm and its still got the crappy promo sleeve.

icapped2pac (July 9, 2008)

I don't dig "Sol Solis" or "Fourth" at all, but songs like "Cover the Roots", "8105", "Grow Up", and "Ode" are enough for me to give this a nine. They remind of Christie Front Drive for some reason, or maybe more Antarctica circa the 23:03 EP. (I must confess I haven't listened to either much lately.) In any case, I fucking love this CD. I wish I would've waited for the re-issue because the limited run originals came in fucking cardboard sleeves like some cheap promo.

osloboditelj (July 8, 2008)

One of the better albums of last year, but did it really need a reissue? Was the original that limited?

Make_Way (July 8, 2008)

Is this band name an homage to the classic Casket Lottery album of the same name? Does this band sound anything like the Casket Lottery? I have to say I am interested in this release.

danperrone (July 8, 2008)

this cd is so good. apparently they've ditched a lot of these kinds of vocals on their new album. not sure how i feel about that.

inagreendase (July 8, 2008)

I like this record, but it's got its obvious flaws. I really don't get the zine hype.

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