On September 22nd, 2017, Long Island veterans The Movielife released Cities In Search of a Heart, their first studio album in 14 years, via Rise Records.
When it comes to a band as influential in the scene as The Movielife, it’s no surprise that when they announced a new album after 14 years that it’s going to be a big deal for everyone involved. I’ve always regretted not being old enough to have discovered The Movielife while they were still together the first time around. I was 10 years old when they broke up. I never got the chance to be exposed to them until it was already too late. As I grew older though, I couldn’t help but hear their name being passed around by some of my favorite bands, with references to them in songs by The Wonder Years, and the band This Time Next Year actually taking their moniker from The Movielife’s sophomore LP of the same name. In between the various reunions the band has had over the years, the members have certainly stayed busy. Most notably with frontman, Vinnie Caruana, going on to form indie/post-hardcore band ‘I Am The Avalanche.’ Meanwhile, guitarist Brandon Reilly created the indie-rock band ‘Nightmare Of You.’
The Movielife have always been noted for their ‘hardcore pop-punk’ style of music, coupled with the direction the members have taken over the years. Cities In Search of a Heart is the most natural progression in sound they could have chosen. All the elements of the old school The Movielife are still there and better than ever, but they also mixed in some new ideas that make the whole sound refreshing to hear.
Cities In Search of a Heart, opens up with what I’d call a refresher song, “Ski Mask.” It’s a short and fast, under two minute punk melody to remind everyone who and what we are listening to before transitioning into the first single from the album, “Mercy Is Asleep At The Wheel.” I’ll be the first to admit that when I first heard the song–I was a bit taken aback with what I was hearing. Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a…not what I was expecting sort of way. It was only then that I remembered that these aren’t the same guys who put out albums when they were in the late teens and early twenties. They’ve lived an entire lifetime of experiences that have let them hone their craft in a more concise, and targeted way.
Halfway through the album we are hit with a song that legitimately brought me to the verge of (and then actually) crying. “Pour Two Glasses” is a chillingly somber acoustic love ballad filled with violins that will make you have such a sense of heartfelt passion. “Lake Superior” has Vinnie Caruana belting out some of the most powerful lyrics from any song of his I’ve heard to date, ‘I don’t know why I feel more drunk when I get sober.’ The rest of the album is filled with rip roaring anthemic songs that keep you pining for just 15 more seconds, just so you’re able to enjoy them a little bit longer.
I’ve had a hard time picking a favorite song from this album because I’ve found myself not being able to go back to any one specific track. This isn’t a bad thing. Quite the contrary actually, the album hits home so hard for me that I can’t just cherry pick a song or two off of it! I have to listen to the whole thing and that’s so rare for me. It’s safe to say that after 14 years The Movielife are back in the full swing of things and it’s wonderful to see.
I will be seeing The Movielife (for the first time!!) in early October with The Early November. The fact that I get to hear these new songs live, coupled with all their classic hits is enough to make me lose sleep until early December.