Moving Mountains further inject a personal, emotional sensibility into post-rock with their newest effort, Foreword.
As Foreword spans just four songs yet clocks in at 36 minutes, the band is calling it an EP. It's a weird characterization for something so long, but compared to their last album, Pneuma, which comprised 10 songs lasting nearly 50 minutes, it sort of makes sense.
In any event, the schematics matter little when one presses play. Foreword proves to provide the band's most scopious and lush songs yet, continuing to take the best aspects of influences and/or peers like the Appleseed Cast and This Will Destroy You.
The opening title track is a dynamic and expansive exercise, quietly ushering in twinkling guitars before soaring yet understated vocals repeatedly declare, "We are so far away from home." Soon enough, much of the music drops out, leaving almost just a minimal drum tap and vocal melody alone before things quickly build back together. There's some trombone in here (as well as in "With One's Heart in One's Mouth"), but it's some of the best application of it the band's done yet, careful not to rise above subtle background punches.
Another element that always seemed a teeny bit bizarre for the band were their blood-curdling screams. Here they're utilized in "With One's Heart in One's Mouth," and they, too, fit so much better. They actually match and enhance the intensity the band's been building up for three minutes, and followed by heartbeat rhythms and then frantic drum fills, it's spectacular.
The best might be "Armslength," though, where an acoustic intro and deeply breathy vocals bear more admissions ("Do we love ourselves in the name of God?") that only get more earnest when the full band kicks in with a breathless take of bone-chilling, swirling cacophony ("I love you but this boat won't stay afloat. / We're sinking deeper.").
Closer "Lights and Shapes" starts out with a jolt of atmosphere and energy, much like one of the better songs Thursday would have produced on their last two albums (I'm thinking "The Other Side of the Crash"). A smattering of affected yells and more screams spell out the aching plainly, while an attention-grabbing set of Explosions-esque, darkly sparkling riffs come in around the 5:30 mark.
Foreword is admittedly much less varied than Pneuma, but it's also entirely more uniform. Moving Mountains have very much found their sound, and consequently produced four superb, fluid songs that give you hope they have the talent to record a "full" album next that's just as good.
With One's Heart in One's Mouth
Lights and Shapes [clip]