Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Motion City Soundtrack album review

Motion City Soundtrack
My Dinosaur Life

Grade: A

When an indie rock band makes the jump to a major label, they often end up with a producer who supplies a slicker and ultimately diluted sound. Not so for Minneapolis outfit Motion City Soundtrack.

Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, who helmed their most successful album to date - 2005’s Commit This to Memory - returned to produce fourth effort My Dinosaur Life. MCS’ brand of synth-driven punk/pop is bound to bring a smile to listeners' faces. Vocalist Justin Pierre – the one with the wildest hairdo since that tall dude in Static X – continues to improve vocally and never over-emotes. His knack for wry wordplay and pop cultural references still dwarfs the band’s alt-rock competition.

The highly melodic “Pulp Fiction,” about being a foreigner in Japan , is one example. Pierre sings rapid fire style while name checking Cloak and Dagger, author Seabury Quinn and “Miami Vice.” Spaz out tune “Her Words Destroyed My Planet,” where Pierre sings honestly about Twentysomethings trying to grow up, rivals Weezer’s pop smarts.

Here, everything has to get worse before it gets better. Case in point: “Delirium,” a dark, yet giddy tune revolving around entering a drug treatment program. Other highlights include “History Lesson,” an acoustic guitar-based dose of folk/punk with a gang-styled chant, the bleak desperation in “Disappear” and stripped down vulnerability and subtle piano of “Stand Too Close.” If there’s any justice, this satisfying album will be MCS’ big breakthrough.

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