With every genre that currently exists in today’s alternative music scene, there will always be specific bands that exhibit certain attributes that make them gods among men against their contemporaries. And for as long as Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Motion City Soundtrack has been active, they’ve been consistently getting to that point in their career where no matter how much time passes, they’ll continue to release solid material and keep their fans happy. Hot off the heels of their 2010 major-label winner My Dinosaur Life, the band has decided to ditch Columbia Records this time around and return to longtime affiliates Epitaph Records to record their fifth studio LP entitled Go, a rich, melodic exercise in alternative pop rock that will assuredly hold its own in MCS’ discography.
The album opens up just about where My Dinosaur Life left off with “Circuits & Wires,” a heavily electronic and meticulously executed effort that showcases what makes the quintet so unique: intelligent lyricism, a pulse-pounding synth and articulate guitar/drum work. Lyricist Justin Pierre opens up once again to let his words do the talking as he admits, “I know there’s something wrong within my faulty brain / I lack the proper behavior / My temper-rattled tongue can’t seem to force it out / the words that linger inside me.” Pierre has always been known for finely tuned, metaphor-drenched lyrics in his work, and the album consistently proves that fact.
In addition to Pierre’s solid lyricism, who could forget to mention his beautifully mellow vocals? His pipes haven’t felt this polished since their 2007 release Even if It Kills Me as he shows his ability to pull off the most complex of melodies. Single “True Romance” and deep cut “The Coma Kid” are prime examples of Pierre’s capabilities, as these tracks specifically highlight his new direction of going for operatic emphasis and falsetto-based descants as compared to My Dinosaur Life, which had a lot more straightforward pop-punk melodies. The progression between the two albums feels organic and makes sense, which is the biggest compliment I can give it.
Pierre isn’t the only one for up for praise with Go, however. The shift in musical direction that Go takes speaks volumes as well. It may not always be as consistently well-received as their previous albums, but there is an admirable sense of transformation added to their sound this time around. “Boxelder” is a great example of this, as it takes a disco-tinged verse that naturally creeks into a full-blown explosion of punkier pop, making it feel like a funkified version of Weezer’s “Getchoo.” “Bad Idea” has a similar feel, as its anthemic nature and uplifting chorus allow it to hold its own among some of the band’s even more recognizable tracks. Though some of the album’s slower material doesn’t hit quite as hard as anticipated, it’s nice to know that the surplus of positive vibes will be enough to pull the record to an ultimately rewarding close.
When taking all elements of Go into question, the group has done a successful job of following up their critical smash My Dinosaur Life without trying to completely top themselves in any major way. In order to keep the fans happy, a band needs to stretch out their material and go for a different angle with every record, as MCS has perfectly demonstrated here. Go isn’t the best record the group has produced to date, but it is still an exceptional release by a solid group that consistently releases great material. Until the next release by the quintet, this soundtrack will hold over quite well.
Check Out: “Timelines,” “Boxelder,” “Bad Idea”
For Those Who Rock:
Death Cab for Cutie’s Narrow Stairs
Ben Folds’ Way to Normal