Motion City Soundtrack
Commit This To Memory


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
July 24th, 2009 | 146 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hyperactive.

One of the most fascinating human conditions is neither a disease nor an illness, but rather an involuntary state called synaesthesia. Synaesthesia occurs when senses overlap and/or unite in such a way that the person experiencing the phenomenon connects a colour with a word, a number with a particular spatial location, or a piece of information like a day or month with a personality.

When you consider the role of music in general it's easy to see parallels between this condition and a listener's; the artist is an agent using instruments in an attempt to evoke an emotion or reaction which is not usually associated with sound. Normally, the result is a change in mood or mindset, a desire to dance or shout or think, or the conjuring of some sort of image as a result of the lyrics and tone of the music. But only the last of those brushes anywhere close to synaesthesia, and even then it's nowhere close to consistent enough to count. No - while it's certainly not the most emotional or life-changing record I've ever encountered, Motion City Soundtrack's Commit This To Memory is easily the closest I've ever gotten to a synaesthetic experience.

It's all about colour. Justin Pierre's forcedly optimistic vocals are part of it; he delivers every line with an unerring sense of self-awareness, and the erratic nature of his cyclic melodies is easily the most addictive thing in pop music. They just refuse to let up - every single second of MCS's second studio album houses some form of bright, hyperactive tune. We're not talking about the kind of chorus that works its way into your brain - these hooks are enormous, brilliant, and come as a veritable barrage of fun, upbeat guitars and a momentum-packed rhythm section which is geared towards danceable beats. Take the opening moog-synth line of Time Turned Fragile, which bursts straight out of the end of the previous track; it sounds celebratory, ecstatic, edging knowingly close to cheesy but never quite getting there for that very reason. Commit This To Memory is shameless in knowing its strengths, digging out infectious guitar lines even in its more poignant moments, like the end of the same track, its drum-heavy closing section still plays host to a plethora of intoxicating strands.

Thankfully, Motion City Soundtrack have enough sense to ensure that this record doesn't blend and merge into a uniform blur of repeated ideas. Despite the amount and frequency of riotous enjoyment packed into these 39 minutes, every so often a song hits you with a slight jolt of emotion, like the third refrain of L.G. Fuad which says, Sister, soldier, you've been such a positive influence on my mental frame, if I could ever repay you I would but I'm hard up for cash and my memory lacks initiative. It's sung with the conviction required to imply a more thoughtful and pensive side to the lyrical content which always exists under the surface of Commit This To Memory but is only rarely allowed to take control. The moments it does are easily the record's most powerful, the best probably occurring in closer Hold Me Down, whose closing line of You're the metaphors I can't create to comprehend this curse that I call love negates Pierre's earlier attempts to describe a fading connection. The track in general is more restrained, floating above a picked guitar and hollow taps at first and remaining mid-tempo until the massive bridge, whose deep piano strikes as both unexpected and beautiful.

Motion City Soundtrack don't pretend to make music that's going to give you any sort of epiphany or musical breakthrough. The keyboards, the catchy guitars, the massive choruses - they're present for one reason alone, and that reason is fun. They're one of the few bands in the world that can play live with almost any kind of band in the confines of rock and pop and still make a lasting impression, most probably on the soles of your feet and your vocal cords. Commit This To Memory is a perfect summary of why they're so good at it - a tour-de-force of penning hooks without sounding like you're not trying. The first three tracks form a foreboding trio of zesty commotion which at no point threatens to let up. It does sound like colour - whatever that means - as its light, relentless energy conjures every side of the spectrum. It's not a disease, or an illness, just an involuntary state that helps you see things from a very slightly different perspective, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.



Recent reviews by this author
Mumford and Sons BabelAbel (NY) Make It Right
The Gaslight Anthem HandwrittenMotion City Soundtrack Go
Sigur Ros ValtariSilversun Pickups Neck of the Woods
user ratings (590)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
July 24th 2009


10195 Comments


hi i review everything i'm digging

synaesthesia rules

YouAreMySilence
July 24th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You are a reviewing beast.

SeaAnemone
July 24th 2009


20311 Comments


i studied synaesthesia for half a semester last year, and yes, it does rule. great review, too

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


17213 Comments


Awesome condition/album. props.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

CommandoBrando
July 24th 2009


17 Comments


I thought the review was very well-written, however I disagree that they wrote this record purely for fun's sake. While it has all the ingredients of a great and memorable rock/pop record some of the lyrics consistently give me goosebumps, a good example being the lyrics near the end of Time Turn Fragile; backed up by the soft constant beat of the drums that to me represents the progression of time. I feel like they wrap up a song about the adventure and fun of youth by voicing their deep fears about the future, something that everyone can relate to and personally scares the hell out of me. While the record is full of fun, there's an underlying tone of fear that they are mortal (Time Turn Fragile), alone and useless (LGFUAD), or just not good enough (Hangman).

Knott-
Emeritus
July 24th 2009


10195 Comments


While I agree with you, that's the lyrical content rather than the music; the upbeat nature of the way these songs sound is both an immediately pleasant quality and something of a mask for the more introspective lyrics. I never said the only reason this album exists is for fun - I said that a lot of elements of their sound were present for that purpose. They have some damn brilliant lines but the main attraction here's not their overly serious side, it's the pop leanings they have. Personally, I think the record would be nigh-on unlistenable if it weren't for the more poignant moments, but I did dedicate a whole paragraph to that side of their music, so yah.

&& cheers guys.

CelestialDust
July 24th 2009


3155 Comments


sweet review man, everytime i see the name of this band i think of the kid A motion picture s.

ninjuice
July 24th 2009


6760 Comments


Still not sure if I wanna get this - I'm 90% sure "Everything is Alright" is in my top 30 most played songs (iTunes and/or Last.FM) but a whole album.....hmmmm. Great review.

Douglas
July 24th 2009


9104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So Attractive Today, Lets Get Fucked up and Die and Everything is Alright are great tracks, the rest of the album drags bad

Knott-
Emeritus
July 24th 2009


10195 Comments


ninjuice, to be fair EIA is probably the closest the album gets to annoying within an individual song. If his vocals don't put you off, and you enjoy the overall sound, the record is a well-executed expansion of sorts. There are some absolute gems of songs on here.

Celestial: it always reminds me of that too, and vice-versa. Pretty weird since the Radiohead song and this band are basically polar opposites as far as music is concerned lol.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 25th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review Adam. Pos.

I think I will pencil in early next year to listen to MCS's discography. I'm fully booked until then. Haha. The way you describe this album is sort of the way I feel about The Academy Is...'s 'Almost Here' in a way. Just flat out fun & enjoyable. Probably needs summer to help it along though.

Douglas
July 25th 2009


9104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^ definitely summer

Knott-
Emeritus
July 25th 2009


10195 Comments


Cheers Davey. Yeah, this is pretty out-and-out enjoyable, but like I say - it does have a few moments that stop and make you wonder. I think when these guys learn to bring out that vulnerable side more frequently they'll make a truly brilliant album; as of yet they haven't managed it.

And welll, it's pop-rock etc. etc., ofc it's going to be better in summer!

ninjuice
July 25th 2009


6760 Comments


ninjuice, to be fair EIA is probably the closest the album gets to annoying within an individual song. If his vocals don't put you off, and you enjoy the overall sound, the record is a well-executed expansion of sorts. There are some absolute gems of songs on here.

That sounds good then. I'm always on the lookout for a pop punk album I won't feel guilty rating higher than 3.5.

Comatorium.
July 25th 2009


4117 Comments


when youre around is win as well

Digging: Silverstein - This is How the Wind Shifts: Addendum

NEVERfade
August 8th 2010


376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, this guys voice makes any song intresting

Ponton
Emeritus
October 18th 2010


5793 Comments


how will i break the news to you?

AtavanHalen
October 18th 2010


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album breaks my heart.

Ponton
Emeritus
October 18th 2010


5793 Comments


check out my dig atavan

AtavanHalen
October 18th 2010


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Only if you check out mine.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy