|Motion City Soundtrack - 'Go' (Epitaph Records)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Thursday, 28 June 2012 04:00|
There is a song that appears third track in on 'Go', the fifth studio album from Motion City Soundtrack, that pretty much, in two hundred glorious seconds, sums up just why every release from this band is welcomed into my world like manna from the power pop gods.
'Son Of A Gun', the aforementioned song, is a suitably quirky number complete with a simplistic, easy, yet incredibly infectious hook that throws up memories of long-lost legends Silver Sun; its creation seems effortless to this band, its sound a laidback piece of musical myrhh.
If you are already familiar with the back catalogue of this Minneapolis geek squad then the above will not surprise you in the slightest: if, however, you have just gatecrashed this party - what kept you? Quietly work your way through 'I Am The Movie', 'Commit This To Memory', 'Even If It Kills Me' and 'My Dinosaur Life' and hope that the cool kids don't spot your crucial cramming.
'Go' is the band's first album for a couple of years and sees them return to Epitaph Records (who release this new platter-that-matters in conjunction with the band's own label, The Boombox Generation) after the last album's brief sojourn with a major label, namely Columbia, who released the wonderful 'My Dinosaur Life' some twenty nine months ago. And, although old school fans might grind their teeth into their retainers, the major label deal resulted in what many would describe as the best album of the band's career to date. Produced by Blink 182's Mark Hoppus - returning after his stint on 2005 sophomore long player 'Commit This To Memory' - and harbouring a hit single in the shape of the great 'Her Words Destroyed My Planet', the album made the band many new friends, the nerd herd swelling impressively. Not so the positive vibes at the major label offices though who, although presented with some of the most infectious tunes in existence, struggled to know exactly how to handle them. Motion City Soundtrack off a major and back into cult fandom with new fans following them just seems right, a good fit for a band that no doubt sees itself as a cult classic rather than a summer blockbuster.
It seems hard to fathom now how the opening track of 'Go', 'Circuits and Wires', was shelved not only during the recording of the album, but also its predecessor: from outcast to incast in a few short years, the song provides a typically upbeat introduction to another fine album from a mighty fine band. Second song, and the album's lead single, 'True Romance' is lacquered with delicious harmonies and hits every spot it intends to before giving way to the previously-mentioned 'Son Of A Gun' and its wonderful qualities. Second single 'Timelines' impresses with its great "it's not a matter of time, it's a matter of timing" refrain before 'Everyone Will Die' proves that even sombre subject matter can be uplifting, the song featuring a vocal line kept from the demo version of the song which shows just how talented the members of this band truly are.
Suddenly, with 'The Coma Kid', we're at the midway point of an album which appears to be flying by in a blur of melody and awesomeness. Time flies, etc. A honey trap of a hook revolving around the time-honoured "whoo-hoo" raises the flag of yet another winning song from a band that rarely loses. 'Boxelder' follows and, with its flurry of guitar at chorus time perfectly enhancing the neatly picked simplicity of the verses, complete with a luscious Roger Manning-esque backing vocal, is another essential cut.
'The Worst Is Yet To Come' was actually written before the release of 'My Dinosaur Life' but, rather than remain fossilised in a locked-away file, has been resurrected and turned into a classy tune that resides at the noisier end of the band's song spectrum. 'Bad Idea', the song that follows, is nearer to the opposite end, however. Originally written for 'Commit This To Memory' and considered for every album since, the song was never deemed "quite right" by the band members - it is now, and thankfully so.
'Happy Anniversary', described by the band themselves as the darkest thing they've ever written, features lyrics written from the perspective of a person with a terminal illness, the death of frontman Justin Pierre's grandmother to cancer a major influence on a song that is both majestic and emotional: there is something very special about a song that obviously remains deeply personal to an artist yet reaches out and touches thousands of other people. Stunning.
Final song 'Floating Down The River' emotes a wonderful message too, Pierre's lyrics speaking of a new found excitement discovered at this thing called middle age that some of us find ourselves living in: the UR mantra has always been to never give up, no matter what age you find yourself at - we might have found a new campaign song.
A major label might not have known what to do with a Motion City Soundtrack album, but we do: play it, play it some more....then play it again. This band really is at the top of the power pops - buy this and dissolve into the beauty of song.
To pick up your copy of 'Go' - CLICK HERE