Review Summary: "I am attempting to change after years of destruction. Don't be alarmed."
Maturity. It's a word fans love and loath equally. While some see it as a chance for the band to grow, for some fans this means the band ditching the energy that attracted them in the first place. Blink 182 are an example of a band who needed to mature, and worked the maturity into their current sound perfectly.
Back with their fifth full length, Go, Motion City Soundtrack have attempted just this. Lyrically the band has always been mature and intelligent, however on this release we see Justin Pierre and co slow things down. Fast paced songs such as Disappear are, for the most part, gone, and in their place are acoustic guitars and string sections. Despite this, you can tell immediately that this album is by Motion City Soundtrack. There is a slight change in momentum, the songs are far more laid back, yet it all still sounds like them. Sonically the record sounds like the next step on from the third album, Even If It Kills Me, however, if you were one of the fans who didn't like that release, you should still find enough to enjoy here.
While Go has most in common with the more pop-orientated Even If It Kills Me, particularly on the second track True Romance, the album has a few faster, old school, Motion City Soundtrack moments. The album kicks off with Circuits And Wires, a song written for My Dinosaur Life, which sounds like classic MCS, and will please long-time fans everywhere. Timelines, with it's auto-biographical lyrics, is a song that would fit in on their previous album, while track eight, The Worst Is Yet To Come, is one of the fastest tracks on Go, and is one of the highlights of the record, complete with a chorus that will stick in your head for days.
Its the fifth track, Everyone Will Die, however, where they really knock it out of the park. Complete with a whole string section, this stripped down song contains arguably the best lyrics Pierre has ever put to paper. It builds slowly and swells midway as violins take centre stage, before Pierre croons "Every single smile and every single tear, reminders of the moments we shared in the instant we were here." The sound is rapidly different from anything the band has done before, yet it's done in such a way you could not envision any other band having written it. Meanwhile penultimate track Happy Anniversary is perhaps the gloomiest thing they have ever recorded. It carries on the theme of death, as the song is from the perspective of Pierre's deceased grandma, and was written after he visited her when she was dying.
Not every song is a winner however. Son Of A Gun is a little dull, and lacks any real spark, while Boxelder has a great chorus but a lacklustre verse. The album is a lot less instant than any of the records that came before it, and it may take a while to sink in with some people. Songs like The Coma Kid and Timelines may require repeated listens but those who do will be well rewarded.
While Go is a superb record, it doesn't feel like it quite manages to live up to the heady heights of their brilliant previous albums, as comparing this to Commit This To Memory shows. Despite this, the record still shines, and is a great example of how musicians can mature, yet still retain the sound that captivated the audience in the first place.