Motion City Soundtrack - Go (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Motion City Soundtrack

Go (2012)

Epitaph/The Boombox Generation

As good as 2010's My Dinosaur Life sounded, the major label life just never suited Motion City Soundtrack for myriad reasons: The record wasn't poppy enough for Top 40 radio and not heavy enough for rock radio, and because of that Columbia failed to do the one thing at which major labels are still particularly adept--getting their bands played on the radio. (That cover art didn't exactly help matters either, not fitting the tone of the record in the least.)

Free from major label strife, MCS recorded Go on their own accord, with their own funds and in their hometown of Minneapolis, Minn. And to their credit, the band didn't take the easy route in mounting their comeback: They could've easily rewritten "The Future Freaks Me Out" a dozen times and called it a day, but on Go we hear a band matured, assured and comfortable in their own skin. It's the least "weird" record the band have ever done, which paradoxically makes it the weirdest record the band have ever done.

Quirks aside, Motion City's biggest strength as songwriters have always been simplistic, infectious hooks and Go has those in spades: "True Romance" is that concisely tight and catchy hit single waiting to happen that Columbia never got; "Timelines" is the best introspective ballad the band have put to tape since "Hold Me Down;" Jesse Johnson's swirling keys and Moog admirably anchor "The Worst Is Yet To Come." There's nothing particularly revelatory about these--they're just damn good Motion City Soundtrack songs, and that's all one could really ask for at this point of the band's career.

The band does use their autonomy to attempt some new beats, however. "Everyone Will Die" succeeds with its morose lyrical content and orchestral backing, and the distant vulnerability that permeates throughout "Happy Anniversary" is particularly arresting. Justin Pierre has always written sad songs for MCS, but these strike a deeper chord that's probably laid mostly dormant since I Am The Movie.

Motion City Soundtrack should be applauded for continually tinkering with their core sound--because as a consistently solid band with a fervent following, they certainly don't have to do so. Go is an immensely enjoyable snapshot of where the band are in their career at this moment, and a record around which their fans should rally.