Dec 2013 24

Movement Ten - Build Them and They Will ComeMovement Ten
Category: Electro-pop
Album: Build Them and They Will Come
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: This deliberately paced electro-pop effort is not without its subtle merits, but the pleasures are too ephemeral and elusive to truly validate its value.


Some people might say that too much of a good thing inevitably turns sour even the most pleasant of sonic flavors. The second release from British Movement Ten finds the duo of Shadowless Man and The Sweet Chap channeling a range of influences, from the new wave groove, through Brit-pop, all the way to glitchy electro. Build Them and They Will Come indeed transcends the gleeful indie aesthetic of the band’s first album, but in the scheme of things and the universe of the genre stars and starlets, it does not resonate with either confidence or power.

The revelation that Movement Ten strives for, more so than many similar acts, a greater balance between the acoustic and the electronic layers of the music comes early in the course of the album. On the first track, “Get Down,” expectations are challenged by the drowning echoing ambience that fills the background, while the speedy guitar riffs set the tempo for the chorus. It’s a fitting and indulgent opening that in a frank and immediate way sets the tone of Build Them and They Will Come. The arrangements on songs like “Black and White Living” and “Ghost Road” are equally lightweight and even less dynamic, drifting forward unhurried and carrying the listener through the surprisingly calm waters of soothing pop. In many ways, this seems to be a residual left from the band’s self-titled debut, but this sophomore effort is even more leisurely paced, even less lively and stimulating. This change of pace and the flux of energy is welcome, but in the space of 11 tracks eventually leads to exhaustion. Build Them and They Will Come is unable to sustain the listener’s investment, even though its opening tones are fairly energetic and intriguing. The absence of songs that contain any memorable hooks or in some major way challenge the album’s overall style ultimately determines its monotony. Calm as they are though, even the lustrous surfaces are eventually distorted by the destructive ripples. The vocals seem to persistently dominate over the instrumental facet of all compositions, like on “Halo,” but even though Sweet Chap’s dirty, manly, Nick Cave-esque mannerism is pleasant and absorbing, many a melody appears to be driven not by the synth lines but the overlay of the vocalization.

The closing moments of the album in songs like “Plant Roots” or “Icon” are bound to merge seamlessly with any other fragment of the track list. Movement Ten is patiently realizing the chosen musical scheme, but there’s no clear high point, no one moment when the music soars that would render it worthwhile and memorable. Build Them and They Will Come is far from ever flatlining, but its pulse is weak. In fact, while listening to it, you will never be in danger of skipping a heartbeat, but rather getting hypnotized by your heart’s rhythm, calmly underlined by the music’s unhurried, forgettable electro vibe.
Track list:

  1. Get Down
  2. Black and White Living
  3. Halo
  4. Ghost Road
  5. Children of the Marquee
  6. Behind Me
  7. Never
  8. Predict the Phuture
  9. Dictionary
  10. Plant Roots
  11. Icon

Movement Ten Website
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Movement Ten Bandcamp
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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