In a new series, we look to bring you completely up to date with the music you should be listening to in the simplest way possible. Including a potted history and all the essential albums and songs you need to hear, “Starter Pack” is everything you need to start a love affair with your new favourite band.
When we think back to our teenage years, there are bands that define that period of time perfectly in our memories. The band you were listening to when you finished school. The band that was all you listened to that summer you went with your mates to your parent’s beach house. The band you took your first girlfriend to see that she hated so much but didn’t have the guts to tell you. The bands that we still jam today and think about better days when adult responsibilities were just a speck in the distance. For those living the good life in the early 2000’s The Movielife was that band. Formed in the late 90’s, the band was active through the defining era of Drive-Thru Records before splitting in 2003. 12 year later and after various projects and ventures the gang is back together for a string of US shows and UK ones just announced. For those in the know, the champagne has been chilled and celebrations have already begun. Now it’s time for everybody else to catch up.
Who The Bloody Hell Is The Movielife Anyway?
The Movielife was born out of a passion for melodic punk and playing shows in Long Island in 1997. The band played basement shows wherever they could and self released their debut ‘It’s Go Time’ to underground acclaim. ‘This Time Next Year’ followed in 2000 through Revelation Records with the band scoring shows across the country. Hard work and perseverance paid off, as Drive-Thru Records snapped up the band, and went on to put out the ‘Has A Gambling Problem’ EP in 2001. Though while promoting the record, the band’s van crashed inflicting minor injuries but major mental traumas. Battered, bruised and on edge, in true punk style the band continued spreading their music.
Two years later, and fuelled by past traumas and newfound inspiration, third album ‘Forty Hour Train Back To Penn’ was released to widespread critical acclaim and cemented the band as leaders within the pop-punk genre. Choppy waters were ahead though. With tensions within the band rising and life on the road bringing up old misery, September 2003 saw the band announce their split and go their separate ways. Off the back of the split vocalist Vinnie Caruana formed I Am The Avalanche and released 3 albums and a solo acoustic EP, while guitarist Brandon Reilly formed Nightmare Of You.
The idea of a reunion was thrown and rejected many times in the coming years before the band played their first full band show in 8 years at Bamboozle in Australia in 2011. Before that the only shows remotely Movielife based had been played with Vinnie on vocals and pop punk heroes Set Your Goals on instruments in 2008. It wasn’t until December 2014 when it was confirmed The Movielife was back and set to play shows in the New Year. Where the band goes from here is a story yet to be written.
The Essential Listen – ‘Forty Hour Train Back To Penn’
The gleaming jewel in The Movielife’s legacy. Written and recorded at a time of tension and unrest, and more straightforward than their previous work, ‘Forty Hour Train’ is the result of unrelenting heartaches and youthful emotions running amok. Penning their most relatable material to date, the band struck a chord with a hopelessly romantic scene in need of the words they couldn’t muster. ‘Face Or Kneecaps’ opens with jolting bitterness, ‘Spanaway’ croons with retrospective realization, ‘Taking It All And Chopping It Down’ is pure stage dive fuel and ‘Ship To Shore’ brings everything to a thoroughly shirt-tugging climax. Pop-punk bands come and go, but even in another 10 years this will still be one of the defining and most treasured albums in the genre without a doubt.
The Next Stop – ‘It’s Go Time’
Fast, raw and scrappy, this is the sound of a band toying with potential and having a smashing time doing it. More melodic punk in approach than the sheen pop-punk finish that was to follow and with no song clocking over 3 minutes, ‘It’s Go Time’ was The Movielife’s statement of intent in a scene on the verge of exploding. ‘Barefoot’ bounces and pulses with youthful exuberance, ‘Read My Lips’ stalks with spiteful intent, while ‘Racer’ slows things down but doesn’t ease off on the angst. ‘Forty Hour Train’ may be the most renowned release but ‘It’s Go Time’ was The Movielife planting the seeds of something special.
The Extra Credit – ‘…Has A Gambling Problem’
Short, sweet but no less infectious and important. The indications of the style set to appear on ‘Forty Hour Train’, ‘Has A Gambling Problem’ takes some of the youthful snottiness of early Green Day, adds a touch of Blink-182 immaturity and maxes it out to it’s limit. ‘Up To Me’ is fast and fulfilling, ‘Hand Grenade’ hopeful and dynamic and ‘Walking On Glass’ visits the band’s roots with no less heartbreak in tow. At the time this was a nice little palate cleanser and welcome statement for the band’s future on Drive-Thru. Now this is the retrospective introduction to the band’s moment in the sun.
The Movielife will be playing 2 UK shows in June.
18th Electric Ballroom, London
20th Academy II, Manchester
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)