Three years on from the all-conquering efforts of their debut album Feel Something, California’s Movements have returned to the limelight with the release of their sophomore LP No Good Left To Give, out September 18 through Fearless Records. Delving into the depths of mental health, relationships, and much more, No Good Left To Give showcases a darker and perhaps more sinister side to the band than listeners have ever seen.
Beginning with “In My Blood”, No Good Left To Give is hauntingly beautiful from its outset. The combination of rumbling bass and eerie guitar sets an atmosphere of danger, before the addition of tempered drums and tormented vocals build to something evocative and powerful. It’s a method employed by the band throughout the album, with many of the songs on No Good Left To Give seemingly preferring a sound that feels virtually stripped back.
Yet despite an approach that could almost be called minimalistic, No Good Left To Give is anything but. Throughout its runtime the album sounds full-bodied and robust; bassist Austin Cressey’s tone is consistent and threatening as it battles constantly with the spine-chilling melody courtesy of guitarist Ira George, while the grounded and methodical drumming of Spencer York works with the aforementioned to build a brilliant platform for vocalist Patrick Miranda to project his darkest demons from.
All incredible musicians in their own merit, it’s the coalescence of all four that truly make No Good Left To Give something incredibly special. There’s an eccentric mystery to every pull of a string, a menacing aftertaste from every drum beat, a heedful warning to every trembled syllable sung. Together they create a mood that is intoxicatingly unsettling, one that you can’t pull yourself away from. And while as a whole No Good Left To Give may not have the same distinct memorability of the band’s previous efforts, the album is a different beast entirely.
While at its core No Good Left To Give lives and breathes like one would expect a Movement’s album to, the precise yet indisputable expansion of the band’s sound is undeniably impressive. Lead single “Don’t Give Up Your Ghost” felt like a perfect introduction into what the group have attempted on their sophomore album with the song defined by its solemnity and mood of utter hopelessness. The album’s title track is similarly painful, with the piano soaked ballad like a hurricane through your emotions for its conservative 90 second run time, yet again it demonstrates the bands unafraid approach to letting torment and agony tear through their songs.
Similarly, where the band’s sound has undergone a definite evolution, so have the musings of Miranda. Seeming more confident in his expression and more mature in his writing, the lyrical concerns of No Good Left To Give may at times come as a surprise as we see the frontman turn to relationships and intimacy as the album’s dominant theme. Delving into the loss of love, the heartbreaking “Seneca” explores the idea of having to let go of the one that got away, while others such as “Moonlight Lines” discuss the experiences of using intimacy to try to hide from the overwhelming feeling of loneliness.
It’s not a complete departure from what fans have come to expect from Movements however, the distraught depths of “Tunnel Vision” narrates Miranda’s own war against mental illness, while “Don’t Give Up Your Ghost” is a tale told from the perspective of someone dealing with a friend who has confided within them that they have tried to end their own life. It’s the curveball that is “Santiago Peak” though that truly showcases how far Movements, and Miranda himself, have come as songwriters. Amongst a series of songs that are sure to make hearts throb, it’s Miranda’s homage to his hometown that serves as the album’s sole source of positivity.
Like an ocean tide, the ebb and flow of No Good Left To Give feels entirely natural, pushing and pulling at the eardrums of listeners. The album’s despondent strides of grief bleed into angry battlecries for a saving grace, while at times dispirited and subdued melodies give way to resolute and vigorous instrumental sections. As a whole, it builds brilliantly towards the album’s crowning jewel “Love Took The Last Of It”; a sobering summation of the album that showcases Miranda’s own progression in battling the issues tackled on No Good Left To Give.
Since their inception as a band, Movements have constantly been the subject of praise for their songwriting and musicianship. No Good Left To Give is not only deserving of the same praise, but surpasses every boundary the band had set for themselves prior. An honest and severe deep-dive into intimacy and mental illness, No Good Left To Give takes bold and courageous steps to ensure that Movements continue to remain a band like no other.
Raw, honest and emotional, No Good Left To Give is an unflinching expansion of everything Movements have become known for. The way the band builds mood through their songs is second to none, and Movements continue to grow into their own mould as they emulate nobody.
While it doesn’t appear to have the same overwhelming memorability of previous efforts, I’m excited to be proven wrong when fans of the band get their hands on the record.