Southern California emo kings Movements are back with their third full-length record, entitled ‘RUCKUS!’. This marks their first full release since 2020’s ‘No Good Left to Give’ and 2022 singles “Barbed Wire Body” and “Cherry Thrill”. This new record really takes the vibes of those two singles and goes even further with the ten tracks we have on here, as far as experimenting and going for new things when it comes to the vibe and tone of a lot of these songs. This record feels concise in its track listing, lyrics, production, and the mood it gives off throughout. I certainly find a lot of it to be on the more impressive side and exactly where Movements should go at this point in their career for their third outing.
The record starts off with “You’re One of Us Now”, and gives off an alt rock vibe right off the bat even with the children chanting at the start. The bass hits immediately like thunder, which is gonna be a common theme throughout this album. I can see this being a big one for them if they ever decide to market it as a single, it straight away shows just how far they’ve come as a band and in their career. The chorus is so good and Pat Miranda‘s vocals come in so smooth and with such power like we’ve always enjoyed, especially at the end. I’d wanna give a shoutout to ending the chorus with “You turned me into someone else, and I don’t recognize myself” and also the lyric “It’s only love if it’s allowed”. They started this record with such a banger musically and lyrically, and definitely sets the tone for the album. The bass continues to come in so hot with the next track and one of the first singles, with “Killing Time”. I really like the vibe of this song, it feels so vibey and yet gritty at the same time which feels right for Movements in 2023. I appreciate just how additional the instrumentals feel in the verses, it really adds to the song nicely. The base chorus in general could use a little more, but it’s definitely grown on me especially with the added parts in the second and final chorus…which elevate it of course. We then get to what’s my favorite single and one of the best tracks on this record, with “Lead Pipe”. It’s just an absolute banger, which also starts off once again with bass to shine so bright. I think the chorus of this song alone will keep this song in their live sets for years to come, it’s just that good. This reminds me of something Citizen would release later in their career as well, so it’s nice that Movements are going a similar direction. Also shoutout to the guitar in the bridge riffing to the bass line at the beginning because you had to bring it back around.
We then reach the next song which also happens to be a single, with “Heaven Sent”. It’s a more softer song and definitely a kind of song that this band hasn’t dived into yet, but it’s a very welcome kind of sound for them. It works so well with how smooth Pat’s vocals are throughout and the lyrics being as adorable as ever and one up’s 2020’s “Skin to Skin” for me, which goes for a similar vibe lyrically at least. It reminds me a lot of Tigers Jaw. The keys in the background of the song elevate this song absolutely and to the tone of it all, and it’s a wonderful choice for a single and I’m sure it’s one fans will attach to. We follow up with another single and one of the best on this record, with “Tightrope”. This song is yet another one for Movements that feels so out there and experimental that it’s so impressive. The first verse and chorus of this track feel so melancholy and beautiful to just sit there and listen to. The drums here are especially impressive throughout with the ghost notes and how consistent it is throughout. The keys once again in the background of this song feel so inspired and do wonders for this track. Shoutout to Pat‘s falsetto bits in the bridge, it won’t be the last time they come up on this record thankfully since it’s so nice to see him grow this much as a vocalist. Like I said before about the track listing too, this feels so nicely placed after the last one to really capture different kinds of energies on this record and it’s so well appreciated. We follow up with a more energy based track in comparison, with “I Hope You Choke!”. The guitar to open the song is great, followed up once again with some nasty bass. The lyrics for this feel pretty wild and I appreciate the call out kind of nature of this song for someone we aren’t so fond of in our lives or even from afar. Like a lot of this record, it’s a nice place to see where this band and the energy they still put into their songs. I also think song feels like another highlight for this record, and another I can see fans loving once this album is out. I think it has a pretty similar vibe to 2022’s “Barbed Wire Body” with even better production.
We get to the last single from this record, the third one to be exact with “Fail You”. The instrumentals during the verses of this track feel so experimental for Movements once again, like they’re funky and Pat‘s vocals being so smooth over it feels right. The chorus feels like a similar vibe to what we’ve gotten from this band in the past, and surely one to go off live. The drums here are once again impressive to just focus on and how intricate it is with all the other elements on this. The vocals delivered during the bridge definitely make me miss just how good Pat is at screaming, given how little it comes back these days. We’re on the homestretch of this record starting with “A.M.P.”. The melodies throughout this track (specifically during the verses) feels so nicely written and placed, and Pat‘s falsetto in the chorus are once again impressing to no end. I also just wanna once again give a shoutout to the production on this record, everything sounds so crisp and well-done and I hope I’m not the only one to notice. We reach the penultimate track and a more energy-driven track, with “Dance with Death”. I really enjoy just how into it and quick we go into this one compared to the rest of the songs on here. I can see this one being a standout for longtime fans of Movements, as it’s more closer to their older stuff from the start of their career. The chorus once again feels like a classic and essential feelings one from this band. I don’t think there’s much that stands out from this instrumentally, but I still really enjoy it and it being the second to last song here. We then reach the final track and the most chill song on here, with “Coeur D’Alene”. This honestly might be my least favorite on this whole album, but I still enjoy it quite a bit and that goes to show the quality delivered on this record. The lyrics feels very personal and even familiar like it takes you back to a place in your life that feels special. Whether it’s you being in another country or sitting in a parking lot late at night. “Your fight is my fight” and “Your life is my life” feel like such personal lyrics that it’s a nice touch this being the final song.
So all in all, Movements have delivered us an incredibly solid addition to their discography with ‘RUCKUS!’. They definitely live up to the album title with the bass alone. I find this to be much more consistent as a record than their last one, and the experimentation and progression to their sound feels seamless and welcome. The progression in the songwriting too feels like Pat has definitely grown since the inception of this band in being so passionate in the lyrical aspect. I urge any fans of Movements to give this record a shot and see just how much this band has grown since 2016 all across the board.
Check out the video for “Tightrope” below.