The Movement – Golden
2.) Dancehall (feat. Mr. Williamz)
3.) Golden (feat. Elliot Martin)
4.) Fair Warning
7.) On Top (feat. Leilani Wolfgramm)
9.) Through The Heart
11.) Habit 2016 (feat. Collie Buddz & Bobby Hustle)
12.) Wild Time
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: April 8th, 2016
Record Label: Rootfire Cooperative
Official Website: The Movement Website
The Movement is a reggae rock trio from Columbia, SC made up of Joshua Swain (guitar/vocals), Jason “Smiles” Schmidt (bass), and Gary Jackson (drums). The original band consisted of Swain, Jordan Miller, and John Ruff, but Swain dropped out of the band in 2010, only to rejoin as the lead singer after Miller decided to leave in 2012. Prior to their 2016 album of Golden, The Movement had released 5 successful studio albums, including the 2008 favorite Set Sail. With the release of Golden, they also became the first band to put out an album on the newly formed Rootfire Cooperative not-for-profit record label.
There was certainly a ton of hype leading up to the release of Golden, The Movement’s 6th studio album. Lead singer Joshua Swain even heralded the album as “by far the best and most important stuff we’ve ever done.” Since the group’s beloved 2008 album Set Sail, it’s been a somewhat mixed bag of music from The Movement. But after listening to Golden, it’s safe to say The Movement have found their groove again and the hype was well deserved.
Golden exudes a completely invigorated sound from The Movement. It’s one with catchier hooks, more dynamic verses, crisper production, and an overall wider variety of music than what they have released since the turn of the decade. Also, as great as Set Sail was, it was refreshing to see The Movement hit the mark on this album without needing or trying to make a carbon copy of their sophomore album.
One of the traits of Golden, that sets it apart from their previous releases, is the inclusion of more guest features. Mr. Williamz delivers an excellent change of pace on “Dancehall,” while Collie Buddz and Bobby Hustle add refreshing verses to the rejuvenated song “Habit 2016.”
Elliot Martin of John Brown’s Body has one of the best voices in all of reggae, which is why I was disappointed by the rapid drum beat that effectively took Martin’s voice out of the forefront of the title track “Golden.” I would love to have heard this song in a slower tempo.
Finally, Leilani Wolfgramm makes an appearance on the catchy chorus of “On Top,” but overall this is one of the weaker songs on the album. Despite some clever lines from Swain sprinkled on the track, it’s fast-paced, video game instrumentation had me looking for the skip button.
Aside from “On Top,” “Golden,” and “Home,” every song on the new album is indeed… golden. “Through The Heart” is an instant classic, “Rescue” is a brilliantly relatable and an introspective song that puts us directly into Swain’s shoes, and the dark rapping style on “Retriever” sounds similar to Eminem, only slightly less aggressive and vulgar.
My favorite song on Golden is easily “Fair Warning,” which features an intoxicating West Coast Rap synth. I half expected Eazy-E to resurrect and spit the first verse, but Swain doesn’t disappoint, belting out passionate lyrics before cranking it up to a full on chant to close out the song.
The Movement seem to have turned over a new leaf with the release of Golden. The band’s 2013 release Side By Side, definitely has it’s moments, but you shouldn’t feel too left out if you forgot to tune in and check it out. That’s simply not the case with Golden, which is the best reggae rock album of 2016 so far, and is shaping up to be an integral part of the summer soundtrack.
I still think Set Sail gets the nod as The Movement’s best album, but Golden is not too far behind (nor is their debut album On Your Feet). The full effort and energy of The Movement was finally given, and it shined through. For a band that has been given high expectations from its fan-base, I’d say those expectations are even higher now going forward.
Written & Reviewed By: Brian Winters
[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: #OneTake | The Movement – Fair Warning