The Move – Magnetic Waves Of Sound: The Best Of The Move (Esoteric Recordings)

The Move had a lot of great songs, but never put together an album you’d call a classic. There were always a few numbers where they’d overreach – which is something I guess you should expect from a band with multiple songwriters and musical interests spanning everything from rockabilly to heavy-psych, baroque orchestrations, MOR pop and R&B. There’s no way they could do all these styles well, and inconsistency is just a fact of life with The Move, which is why this Best Of package is the best way to hear them. Magnetic Waves of Sound collects twenty-one songs spanning their 1967-1972 run, but it’s heavy on the early years, which is good since that’s The Move’s peak era, when they could regularly whip up psychedelic freakbeat magic on tracks like “Fire Brigade” and “Walk Upon The Water.” The band’s pretentions got the best of them later on, but they still kicked out a few solid jams like “Do Ya” and “California Man” as they sputtered towards the end in 1972 (though they would morph into ELO). Magnetic Waves features most of the gold, but as is standard for compilations, there are some complaints about what did and didn’t get selected for inclusion. I’d personally swap out the 7:43 lesser re-recording of “Cherry Blossom Clinic” for “Omnibus” and “Yellow Rainbow,” but I guess others would disagree.

Magnetic Waves also comes with a DVD of twenty-one songs from BBC and German TV broadcasts. The performances (some live, some lip-synched) track The Move’s evolution from sharp-dressing mod band playing adventurous three-minute pop songs, to the long-haired proto-metal/glam band they would become, going through almost a complete line-up change in just three years, which saw power shift over to Roy Wood, the only constant member other than drummer Bev Bevan (who ended up in Black Sabbath in the 1980s). Despite their name, the band doesn’t actually move very much on stage – probably because everyone needed to stay close to their mics – and the live performances stay pretty close to the studio versions, but there isn’t a ton of good footage of bands from this era, so you’ll take what you can get and you’ll like it. If you want most of The Move’s great songs, but don’t want invest in their full discography, this is a great way to get most of their best stuff in one place.