As Every Mover washes into frame, the first thing you will notice is lush composition. The project is Hilang Child’s second album, a follow-up to 2018’s Years, and it’s packed with velvety layering. The songs rhythmically dance through worlds of warm ambiance, creating an immersive blanket of sound. Unfortunately, likable aesthetics aren’t enough to save Every Mover from its shortcomings.
Ed Riman, the artist behind Hilang Child, once described being “more excited” about Years’ homemade demos than their studio-polished counterparts. On his latest project, there are remnants of that mindset. Despite most songs on Every Mover being defined by the rich production aesthetics of modern art-pop (think Caroline Polachek’s Pang), hints of DIY attitudes still shine through. This could have been a good thing, maybe adding a touch of bedroom pop to the mix. But more often than not, Hilang Child’s productions sound stunted. “King Quail,” for example, feels like it’s just on the verge of reaching its expansive sonic aspirations. But it never quite gets there.
At other times, Hilang Child incorporates subtle glitching and vocal panning. “Pesawat Aeroplane – English” takes this approach, and while the singer’s multi-tracked vocals are beautiful on the chorus, much of the song feels dated, like something Owl City might have produced in the early 2010s.
Every Mover isn’t a bad album. Hilang Child obviously cares about his work, and his efforts sometimes pay off. But most of the time, Every Mover lacks definition. Adding to the problem, several songs end so abruptly and with so little movement that they feel like lazy interludes. While most of these unsuccessful songs accompanied by stronger partners, there just isn’t enough to love to make Every Mover a solid recommendation.