Review: Motion City Soundtrack — Go

Reviews / June 19, 2012

Motion City Soundtrack’s latest may not be the band’s best, but it’s still solid

Boombox Generation/Epitaph

If My Dinosaur Life was Motion City Soundtrack’s attempt at a more aggressive, powerful rock record, consider their latest effort, entitled Go, a definite step in a different direction. With a mellower, pop-rock feel, it’s almost a search when looking for the band’s signature bursts of alt-rock energy. Instead, you’ll be sensing significantly more synth and acoustic guitar than previous efforts, as well as new touches, like a string arrangement on “Everyone Will Die.”

Now, this isn’t to say that it’s completely different from anything Motion City Soundtrack has ever done. In fact, when comparing Go to any of their prior work, most listeners will notice little echoes of their earlier material reverberating throughout the new record. Take “Boxelder” for example. A sickly-sweet tune finds frontman Justin Pierre singing his signature falsetto through the verses, before roaring into the guitar-and-vocal-chord-shredding chorus.

The record opens with “Circuits and Wires,” a song which includes the lyrics “I am all motors and gadgets / Organically designed / To last a finite length of time.” This, in a nutshell, is the resounding message throughout the album. The themes of Go seem to be the concept of time, the brevity of life, and the need to spend one’s time wisely. Just looking at the song titles, such as “Timelines,” “Everyone Will Die,” and “The Worst is Yet to Come” gives the listener an idea of the album’s subject matter.

Further listening reveals lines such as “Hours wasted in the land of hopes and dreams / But I won’t look back / I won’t look down,” taken from the song “The Coma Kid,” and “I’ve been asleep for nearly fifteen years / All the dreams I’ve ever had / Outweigh the life I’m not yet living,” taken from the song “Bad Idea.” Certain songs exemplify the album’s theme almost entirely. “Timelines” finds Pierre singing the story of his life and the lessons he has learned in time. The album closes with “Floating Down the River” which gives the listener some advice on how to avoid wasting their life. Pierre sings about the times he spent battling mental problems and chemical dependence. Overall, the message is mostly positive with a few negative retrospective moments.

One significant lyrical difference, however, is the lack of pop culture references. Pierre used to pepper the names of television programs, movies, or characters featured therein into many of their songs. Unless I missed something, I did not hear one such reference on Go.

I have a strange problem with Motion City Soundtrack, which is that I have never enjoyed any of their albums more than their debut, I Am The Movie. The vast majority of fans tend to feel that they peaked with Commit This to Memory and I amicably disagree. The real problem is that I desperately want to enjoy every new album Motion City Soundtrack releases, but I rarely do. At least not entirely. That being said, Go grows on you the more you listen to it. It will never top I Am The Movie, but it will sit comfortably near or between My Dinosaur Life and Commit This to Memory.

Sound Quality: The record sounds magnificent. The music is sharp and clear. Further listening reveals more and more layers to each track and my copy had no excess surface noise or other defects.

Packaging: The record comes packaged in a simple jacket. The sleeve doubles as the lyrics/credits sheet. The record I received, pressed on grey swirl vinyl, limited to 500.

Extras: Along with the record, you receive a CD copy of the entire album. The CD can be used for ripping the tracks onto a computer, listening to in the car or on a snazzy CD walkman, or Frisbee practice (not recommended). You also receive a digital download, which includes the entire album and three bonus tracks.

Summary: Fans should be pleased with Motion City Soundtrack’s latest work. It might not be their best, but it definitely fits in well with their catalog. The casual listener might need to be reminded that Justin Pierre’s creativity is currently being spread out among two other projects as well (Farewell Continental and The Company We Keep) as well as keeping busy with the Making Moves project. It’s almost surprising they found time to make the record at all.

Make Sure To Spin: “Timelines” and “The Worst is Yet to Come”

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Brian Vitunic

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