Review: The Movement – Beneath The Palms

Review: The Movement – Beneath The Palms

The Movement – Beneath The Palms (Acoustic)
mvmt_beneath_the_palms22Track Listing:
1.) Ocho Rios
2.) Hola
3.) Mile High
4.) Echo
5.) Moonshine
6.) Small Axe (Bob Marley Cover)
7.) Sweet Life
8.) Habit
9.) Gift
10.) Another Man’s Shoes
11.) Get Ready (Sublime cover)

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: Nov 24th, 2014
Record Label: Independent
Official Website: The Movement Website

Artist Background:
Hailing from Columbia, South Carolina, the reggae-rock group The Movement was formed in 2004 by a trio of Sublime and Pixies fans. Joshua Swain, Jordan Miller, and John Ruff, aka DJ Riggles, launched The Movement with their “alternative reggae” debut album, “On Your Feet.” In 2008, the group met Chris DiBeneditto, a Philadelphia-based producer who had worked with like-minded acts such as Slightly Stoopid and G. Love & Special Sauce. Relocating to Philadelphia, they recorded 2008’s “Set Sail” at DiBeneditto’s Philadelphonic Studios. The Movement expanded with the addition of Gary Jackson on drums and Jason “Smiles” Schmidt on bass. In 2012, Miller left the group, and the trio, now fronted by Swain, released their fourth album “Side By Side,” in 2013.

In 2014, the group added Keyboardist/Producer, Brendan Dane, aka Alific, to the group. Now, The Movement has released a live acoustic album titled Beneath The Palms that is made up of 11 songs, including 2 covers, recorded at two separate locations. Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 were recorded at The Compound Studio, outside on the front porch, in Valley Center, CA. Those tracks were engineered & mixed by Shelby Meddock. Tracks, 4, 6, 8 and 10 were recorded with Sugar Shack in Bonita Springs, FL from their Sugarshack Video Sessions and were engineered by Alex Casement and mixed by Brendan Dane. The entire album was then mastered by Danny Kalb in Columbus, OH with cover-art by Kc Cowan

Album Review:
This all acoustic album better identifies The Movement as being side by side showing fans how well they sound when performing raw & uncut. If you’re looking for an all acoustic album in the realm of Slightly Stoopid’s Live & Direct: Acoustic Roots, then look no further than this surprise release by The Movement.

Beneath The Palms includes Joshua Swain on vocals & acoustic rhythm guitar, while Gary Jackson plays the drums as we hear Jason “Smiles” Schmidt on acoustic lead guitar, providing back-up vocals with occasional bass. Alific contributes keys during the Sugarshack session on songs “Echo,” “Small Axe,” “Habit,” and “Another Man’s Shoes.”

Joshua’s soulful vulnerability can be heard through his raspy, nasally & sometimes slurred delivery, best compared to a down the middle cross between Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid and Bradley Nowell of Sublime.

This is every bit of a live acoustic album as you’ll hear with offbeat whistling, talking, yelling, shout-outs & heavy breathing. Performing acoustic and stripped down music shouldn’t be perfect or over-produced. All of those unplanned nuances, noises and effects that naturally make their way onto the recording is all the extra production that’s needed for any acoustic release.

This is an album that you turn up to JAM, not to bump. It screams energy with soul coming off the free spirited performance of aggressive finger plucking & subtle drums with occasional keys. You can hear what each instrument is doing and how it’s communicating with the other parts, enabling an intimate experience with the music for the listener.

There couldn’t be a better example of both spirit & soul than on the performance & cover of Bob Marley’s “Small Axe.” This is the albums best performance and now one of my favorite covers. It’s not just the singing and the playing but the overall emotion that affectionately pours out.

Some of the stand-out songs for me were “Ocho Rios,” “Hola,” “Small Axe” and “Habit.” There weren’t any songs that I skipped and I did become a new fan of older songs that didn’t win me over on previous releases with “Another Man’s Shoes,” “Sweet Life,” “Gift,” and “Mile High.”

They revisit songs from each of their previous albums, with the exception of One More Night (when Josh Swain wasn’t in the group). Even songs where former vocalist Jordan Miller was previously featured, his parts go unnoticed and unquestioned as Joshua makes the song his own in a stripped down environment.

Beneath The Palms isn’t a ground breaking album and they didn’t reinvent the wheel, nor did they have to. This is music being performed and enjoyed the way it was intended. There are a lot of bands that hide behind the production of a studio or playing live on top of a click-track, but Beneath The Palms further displays that The Movement can deliver just fine in its primitive form. This album reaffirms The Movement’s side by side chemistry & musical depth by solely & confidently relying on their own raw talent to deliver something truly enjoyable.

Written & Reviewed By: Mike Patti

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]

Watch: The Movement – “Small Axe” (Bob Marley Cover)