London-based alt-rock band Oli Barton & the Movement are a long-time favorite of mine. As indicated by their name, the band is headed by the wildly creative and charismatic singer-songwriter Oli Barton, with the Movement comprised of four outstanding musicians – Ryan Wilson on lead guitar, Jamal Lagoon on rhythm guitar, Marco Paone on Bass, and Josh Needham on drums. With a winning combination of talent, imagination and personality, their eccentric yet sophisticated style of alternative rock is a colorful mix of post-punk and psychedelia, fortified with touches of funk, grunge and pop.
I’ve written about them numerous times on this blog since first featuring them in May 2017 (You can read some of my reviews by clicking the links under ‘Related’ at the end of this post), and have loved every one of their releases. Three of their songs have appeared on my Weekly Top 30 lists – their provocative 2017 single “Kinky” went all the way to #1, and their 2018 single “44”, and more recent single “Martyr” from earlier this year, both reached the top 5. They’ve been on a creative streak since the fall of 2020, and have released a string of excellent singles. Their latest is “Just Like Always“, a beautiful song featuring guest vocals by London-based singer-songwriter Maella that I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week. Released via Coke & Dagger Records, the track was produced by the band’s long-time collaborator Jules Gulon.
“Just Like Always” starts off with strummed acoustic guitar and Oli’s soothing vocals, giving it a more introspective feel than many of their previous songs. The music gradually expands with added guitars, bass, drums and synths into a lush, melodic soundscape in the choruses. The shimmery guitar notes and piano chords are sublime and, as always, I love Oli’s beautiful plaintive vocals as he sings words of encouragement “And just like always, you say you’re done. But I know inside my heart, you’ve just begun“. Everything builds to a dramatic crescendo in the final chorus as Maella’s vocals enter, highlighted by a terrific guitar solo.
The lyrics generally speak to not allowing the impediments that life often throws in our path to prevent us from realizing our dreams. Oli states that the song is deeply personal to him, as it’s about someone he knew who was giving up on life, referenced in the lyric “she tried to lift her head up but a force just brought it down“. “We’ve all been there” he adds. “The Maella segment of the song is the kind of positive end which speak to not waiting for the moment to strike but to seize it in order to reach your goals and not needing anyone else’s permission to do so.“
“Just Like Always” is a wonderful song that beautifully showcases Oli Barton & the Movement’s ongoing growth and maturity as a band. Their music just keeps sounding better and better, and I’m thrilled to follow them as they continue moving forward on their musical journey.