Motion City Soundtrack were my favourite band when I was 15 (I went to see them for my birthday), so I was filled with nostalgic glee when I discovered that their fifth album, Go, was released on 12th June. When I finally got around to listening to it, the album didn’t disappoint. The 15 year old in me loved it. Unfortunately, I’m no longer 15 and unsure that I would appreciate the album so much had I not already been a fan. Go has a great deal of quirky energy and more contrast than any of MCS’s earlier albums, but I can’t help but feel that it doesn’t have the gravitas to draw in older listeners.
Having said that, Go is the band’s most mature release so far. It shakes off the angst of fourth album My Dinosaur Life and replaces it with moodier, bleaker moments. This is often achieved through a use of acoustic guitars, which far exceeds that of earlier albums. The most visible example of this new-found cynicism is the brutally titled ‘Everyone Will Die’ (my personal highlight of the album): a touchingly introspective, acoustic number which explores the ‘simple truth’ of death.
However, Go, still has a lot of energy; I was bopping along the whole way through. ‘Circuits & Wires’ kicks the album off with an explosion of excitement as driving beats and rocking power chords blare out. The two announced singles ‘True Romance’ and ‘Timelines’ are also particularly upbeat and, “you better believe it’s true” that, they have catchy choruses. In fact, I feel that with enough promotion they’d have enough providence to become pop-punk standards akin to tracks like Blink-182’s ‘All the Small Things’.
All in all, Go is a good, fun listen. Justin Pierre’s vocals soar brilliantly over the music and the wittily crafted lyrics, particularly those in the parodic ‘The Worst is Yet to Come’, are great. Jesse Johnson’s moog also adds an interesting, melodic dimension that positively differentiates MCS from more conventional bands in the pop-punk genre. The only real issue with the album is that it lacks complexity. The music is very power chord orientated and the moments of picking are rare. Nevertheless, it is slickly produced and more than enough to keep fans of the band’s earlier albums (such as Commit This to Memory or Even if it Kills Me) more than happy. Whether they’ve done enough to entice new fans? Only time will tell.