Musically, The Movement, Rusted Root's seventh studio album, picks up where 2009's Stereo Rodeo left off. It was recorded by virtually the same lineup, with original trio Michael Glabicki (lead vocals, guitars, percussion), Liz Berlin (vocals, percussion), and Patrick Norman (bass, vocals, percussion) joined by drummer Preach Freedom, guitarist Colter Harper, and Dirk Miller on banjo, with a host of guests in select spots. Glabicki makes his debut as both producer and engineer. Whereas Stereo Rodeo gave up the artificially sheeny gloss of 2002's Welcome to My Party and brought back the wider range of RR's percussion attack, its tunes were more formally constructed ideas than finished ones. On The Movement, Glabicki finds a better balance. His songs are tight, hook-oriented, accessible numbers adorned in adventurous global percussion and musical modes. While the rhythmic and melodic components of opener "Monkey Pants" are interesting, the rather clumsy slant toward retro-funky soul in the refrain and chorus and render it ineffective. "Cover Me Up," with Harper's melding of Nigerian highlife and Caribbean calypso guitar styles creates an infectious counterpoint to Glabicki's more conventional hard rock riffs, and even a second melody. (He deserves a co-songwriting credit on this one.) Add to this Berlin's sweet harmonies and the thundering breaks by Freedom, and you have a standout. Speaking of Berlin, once more she is the most underutilized talent in RR's lineup. Her combination of accurate pitch, in-the-pocket sense of time, and fluid phrasing is rare. While the title track (and first single) is almost a straight-ahead rocker, its polyrhythms deepen the hook. "In Our Sun" brings some of the beautiful tribal weirdness of early RR back to the fore. The wide-open dubbed-out spaces, backmasked drum and guitar sounds, vocal improvs, and the interweaving of drum languages create a hinge spot. "Fossil Man" and "Something On My Mind" are basically standard rock ballads, and Glabicki's emotive voice almost sounds like Adam Duritz's. "Fortunate Freaks," with is jittering guitar bass interplay, is another standout. The Movement will more than likely appeal to the RR faithful, and its songs will give the band plenty of fuel for stretching out live.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek