Label: Deep Elm Records
Released: May 13, 2008
Pneuma is an album that works more in noise than structure. Ambient layers and ambling indie rock rhythms are grounded by a more common vocal approach that alternates between whining and screeching and screaming. There is nothing pretentious about Moving Mountains’ deconstruction of rock though. It is experimental, but not simply for the sake of experiment. They haven’t spent time forcing complexity so much as simply following a different path to great songs.
They can be stark and thin as the quiet heart-beat, piano and murmurs of “Fourth.” They can build layer upon ambient layer in “8105” and occasionally break through the density with horns. They can be more structured in an acoustic ballad like “Sol Solis” and bring soul to a genre that often forgets it. They can be beautifully imperfect in the closing moments of the album. They can be grand without being grandiose. They can be both esoteric and inviting. They can do all of these things, because they focus on the music, not the experiment. They do push the boundaries, but that is only incidental to making great music. Moving Mountains succeeds at what many have failed it. Pneuma is ambient music gone wild.
If you’re curious about my rating categories, read the description.