Having spoken last month on the beauty of discovering new genres, the focus of this month’s Spotlight is delightful for a slightly different reason. The blurring of genre lines is becoming a welcome frequency in contemporary music. Most critically acclaimed artists in the last decade have failed to adhere to the conventional understandings of their respective genres. In many instances, the artists themselves are the first to defy labels; most somewhat insistently placing themselves into unfamiliar boxes, cramming their distinctly bicycle-shaped tunes in to what is clearly a shoebox.
Tenuous analogies aside, genre-defying artists are certainly the most exciting. For this reason, with a new year ahead of us, I have decided to focus my Spotlight on the band that - for me - presented the most exciting act 2014 had to offer - Movement.
It’s impossible to avoid sounding like a pretentious arsehole when attempting to describe an alien sound, so with that in mind you may have to bear with me. Movement aren’t exactly R&B; they’re a shade short of synth rock, with definite hints of trip-hop and a distinct flavour of electronica. Their tracks hook and swoop, betraying a sharp and clean production, and yet the trio still very much feel like a band, with intermittent guitar solos and vocal harmonies. Hopefully my self-aggrandising genre name-dropping hasn’t soured your impressions of Movement too much; it felt like a necessary evil in my attempt to highlight just how exciting a band these guys are.
Unlike the acts featured in previous editions of this column, Movement are already showing prominent signs of realising their significant pretention. They’ve caught the eye of the heavyweight music critics over at Pitchfork, subsequently snatching a spot performing at the website’s much-lauded festival in Paris early November. This formed a part of their larger worldwide tour, currently in its closing stages, which included a stint supporting Banks across North America and concluded with a gig supporting SBTRKT in their native Australia in the New Year.
Their performance in Paris was a fantastic demonstration of the diversity and extent of the band’s repertoire. Their three-track closing to their set flowed from the blissful ambience of Us, to the trawling piano and sultry guitar in Ivory, finally building up to a rousing crescendo with Like Lust. It’s reassuring that the production value so prominent on their EP translates so seamlessly to a live setting.
If the Sydney-based trio follow the expected trajectory, 2015 should prove to be the year in which they begin to make genuine waves. An album should inevitably follow their stunning self-titled debut EP, with the band already announcing a break from their extensive touring schedule, in order to develop some new music. The group are currently signed on with Modular Recordings, the label behind Tame Impala’s Lonerisms, The Avalanches’ Since I Left You, and Cut Copy’s Zonoscope, which certainly bodes well for any future releases.
Whilst Movement were one of the most exciting bands I heard in 2014, they are also the group that hold perhaps the greatest promise for the new year. In a time where it’s increasingly difficult to break any kind of new ground, they’ve hit upon a sound that is both refreshingly unrecognisable and entirely their own.