Motion City Soundtrack return with their sixth studio album and in true form, they continue to maintain their stamp on the genre with the smart and passionate ‘Panic Stations’.
Motion City Soundtrack have always been known for their unique song writing style and lyrical quirkiness, and while a lot of that is still present across this album, the follow up to 2012’s ‘Go!’ also, in places, feels like the most straight-laced offering yet.
The album starts strongly, with that trademark style and sound we have come to except which grips you from the opening few notes. Track three ‘I Can Feel You’ in particular stands out. Catchy, anthemic and laced with elements of the old MCS, yet showcasing how much they have grown across their previous six releases.
Track four, and lead single, ‘Lose Control’ is perhaps the most straightforward track on the new release, lacking that spark that appears so consistently across the rest of the album, and rather ironically named, as even singer Justin Pierre sounds a tad unenthusiastic. That said, it is by far the most different sounding track I have heard from MCS in a long time, and does a good job of showing that the Minnesota five-piece are constantly looking at ways to grow, change and redefine their sound. It may take a few listens before this track will grow on you first though.
For me, the second half of the album contained the stronger tracks. Track six ‘It’s a Pleasure to Meet You’, track eight ‘Broken Arrow’ and track nine ‘Gravity’ are three perfect examples of MCS at their best. Infectious riffs, intelligent and thoughtful lyrics and all expertly produced to ensure the sound and pace remains tight.
Closing track ’Days Will Run Away’ is an extreme departure from the previous ten tracks. Where they are bouncy and catchy, this is harder hitting and more thought provoking, causing you to sit and listen in a way that you may not have fully expected, it’s one that I certainly had on repeat. It is another example of pushing their boundaries and experimenting with new ideas, and one that is pulled off rather spectacularly.
Overall it is perhaps a case of more repetition than reinvention, with small embers of new potential within, but when you are already standouts in your genre, you must be doing something right, so it’s hard to be disappointed.