Rock ‘n’ roll has a long history of being demanding. “Gimme some good times,” beseeched Lou Reed. “Gimme danger,” snarled Iggy. “Gimme some truth,” cried John Lennon. “I wanna be sedated,” proclaimed the Ramones. The eighth album by Mountain Movers begins by adding another voice to the chorus. “I wanna see the sun,” sings guitarist Daniel Greene, “gimme some pleasure.”
On World What World, the Connecticut quartet sounds like it’s sorely in need of some, trudging into audibility with what seems to be the weight of the world upon its collective back. Bassist Rick Omonte and drummer Ross Menze are in step with Greene, moving at a Crazy Horse-worthy stagger. Guitarist Kryssi Battalene’s molten leads course through and around the band’s accompaniment; sometimes she’s a river of lava singeing the rest of the group’s eyebrows, and the rest she’s the cherry-picker swiveling up and over them, enabling tracking shots of their uncertain progress.
It’s a great opening gambit, but not one you want to repeat, so the foursome follows it up with a questing instrumental titled “Final Sunset” that further affirms both Battalene’s primacy and the essential propulsion that the rest of the band supplies her. Next up, “Then The Moon” serves further notice of the Movers’ grasp of rock ‘n’ roll history. The contrapuntal exchange between Omonte’s bass and Greene’s voice is straight out of the third Velvet Underground album. Why reinvent the wheel, they might ask, if you have this perfect thing at hand to get your rolling?
But Greene’s lyrical focus, if anything, is on what lies ahead, and it’s not a hopeful vision. The album-ending “Flock Of Swans” depicts a world where the stores and hospitals are all shut down, with people huddling in basements. It falls to the closing guitar duel between Battalene and Greene to purge the horror. Maybe there’s still room, at least in these songs, for people’s lives to be saved by rock ‘n’ roll.