Giant steps! Grandiose choral-psych epic-ness from Gothenburg!
There's a heaviness that permeates this LP by The Movements. Not only does its title mention an animal that's the epitome of wild regal dignity but the album's lyrical themes are big and imposing too; death, religion, reincarnation, and the seismic shifts of seasons, etc.) The fact that this is merely the first release in a two part opus (Like Elephants 2 follows early next year) only adds to the feeling of it being a statement as opposed to merely a release. I first became aware of the band via the Garage Punk Hideout social network, always thought they were one of the more interesting garage rock bands out there but never expected them to release anything quite as accomplished as this LP.
The album's opening cut is recent single, The Death Of John Hall D.Y. It begins with snippets of lo-fi rehearsal tapes before a segue into the fully recorded version. It's effect is a bit like the shift from black and white to technicolour in The Wizard Of Oz, and serves to mark the band's progression from the raw, (but still rather good) garage band of yore, into the more ambitious sounding band we have before us now.
With a sound rooted in late '60s psych-tinged folk-rock, embellished with vocal harmonies, 12-string chime, guitar freakouts and the use of extended free-form sonics, the band have captured autumnal sadness on a grand scale. While there is a harking back to the classic bands of yesteryear (most notably The Byrds), The Movements have not merely aped a sound, rather they've co-opted it to share their own thoughts, feelings and messages. Let's hope part 2 is equally rewarding.