Geek-rock sound brought to new album

Geek-rock+sound+brought+to+new+album

Formed in 1997, Minnesota pop punk veterans Motion City Soundtrack are still going strong with the release of their sixth studio album, “Panic Stations.”

“Panic Stations” was released last month through Epitaph Records. It is their first album with drummer Claudio Rivera, who replaced long-time drummer Tony Thaxton.

Despite the addition of a new drummer, Motion City Soundtrack continues its signature quirky guitar and Moog synthesizer -driven sound.

Like many of their previous albums including “Commit This to Memory,” with “Attractive Today,” and “My Dinosaur Life,” with “Worker Bee,” “Panic Stations,” begins with guitar-driven fast-paced “Anything at All,” which vocally features energetic verses and a mellow chorus from lead singer and guitarist Justin Pierre.

Following “Anything at All,” is catchy and quirky lead single “TKO,” which draws heavily from Weezer’s geek-rock sound.

Following “TKO,” is one of the highlights of the album, “I Can Feel You,” which starts out with soft mellow Pierre vocals then transitions into a slow bridge that escalates into an upbeat anthem led by the energetic distorted guitar chords of Joshua Cain and Pierre.

“I Can Feel You,” is a lyrical masterpiece that contains some of Pierre’s most personal lyrics, like “I try to let go, but the pull is too great consumed by the promise of one last chance. Are you holding on? ‘Cause I’m still holding on.”

With every terrific song comes a flop, and this flop, “Lose Control,” comes right after “I Can Feel You.”

“Lose Control,” is dragging and painfully simple with seemingly monotone verses. Even though it has a mildly catchy tune, it seems almost completely out of place on this album.

After “Lose Control,” is fast-paced moog heavy “Heavy Boots,” which showcases the catchy synth riffs of keyboardist Jesse Johnson.

 

“Over It Now,” features the lower end of Pierre’s vocal range in the verses but raises to hit the higher notes in Pierre’s tenor range.

Overall, the entire band played very well on “Panic Stations.” There were some times when bassist Matt Taylor lacked energy and a few places when Pierre’s voice sounded mildly strained. Other than that, there is very little fault I can find with the band’s performance.

For many fans, one of the main concerns before hearing this album would be the addition of Rivera. Although Thaxton will be greatly missed, Rivera proves he is a great addition to the band with many energetic fills and a steady drumbeat while incorporating elements of Thaxton’s drumming style.

Joined with Rivera, the rest of Motion City Soundtrack was able to create a quality pop-punk album. Although it had many incredible songs, I would not consider this  entire album as their best work.

It is not able to beat other albums including “Even If It Kills Me,” and “Commit This To Memory,” but then again, Motion City Soundtrack consistently releases quality albums. I would recommend this album for any fan of Pop-Punk and/or Weezer.

 

 

MIKE FUJITO

[email protected]