Motion City Soundtrack – Commit This To Memory (CD)

Motion City Soundtrack – Commit This To Memory / 2005 Epitaph / 12 Tracks / / / Reviewed 06 April 2005

We have a winner for the most annoying method to ensure that one’s CD is not stolen. Epitaph has decided to split up the twelve tracks on “Commit This To Memory” into 99 different sections, and this means that I get into a groove with the great music that MCS plays on this disc, only to have it interrupted by the minute delay while the CD player changes tracks.

Anyways, Motion City Soundtrack have distilled their sound from their prior disc, “I Am The Movie”, owing much to producer Mark Hoppus, who was no slouch in singlehandedly modifying pop-punk in eir own image back in the nineties. Starting out with three bouncy, synth-infused tracks in “Attractive Today, “Everything is Alright”, and “When You’re Around”, Motion City Soundtrack makes a bold step with “Resolution”. Taking sections from early-eighties rock, Weezer, and Sloan-era alternative rock, “Resolution” has one of the most dense sounds hidden underneath what sounds simple and straight-forward. The nuanced guitar lines and churning bass found on the track really highlights Justin’s vocals. Jesse’s Moog really takes the forefront during “Feel Like Rain”, even blowing the hands-down masters of the synth (being Jason from the Red Hot Valentines and Mark from The Reunion Show). Even on more low-key tracks (Make Out Kids), Motion City Soundtracks still makes strengths out of what is a “weak (meaning average) track, using nuanced guitar and bass lines to wow their listener bass. And hell, how can a chorus urged on by clapping be anything but perfect?

The disc speeds through to its inevitable conclusion, something that is exacerbated by the incredibly intricate and impressive drumming on “Time Turn Fragile” by Tony. “Let’s get fucked up and die”, even if Justin is speaking figuratively shows an intensity that would never be seen in the much more nuanced and subterranean music that surrounds that subjunctive. Breaking through the spiderwebs that the more tepid “Lgfuad” deposits on “Commit This To Memory”, Motion City Soundtrack puts a nice middle-ground track in “Better Open The Door”. The drumming on “Better Open The Door” is flawless and impressive as usual, while Justin’s vocals achieves almost-Brand New-esque stylings in eir vocals. However, the opening “to “Together We’ll Ring In The New Year”, replete with Justin’s falsetto really causes the disc to struggle in these late stages. The simplistic guitars do much in re-contextualizing Justin’s vocals into an Uncle Tupelo/alt-country way, a movie that really salvages the track. Finishing up the disc with the penultimate “Hangman”, Motion City Soundtrack have, in the space of a disc attempted a bevy of different styles and shown their listeners that they have been influenced by a whole host of genres and bands. “Commit This To Memory”, a phrase in the aforementioned “Hangman” is an exhortation that all should take seriously – this disc is made for everyone just as much as it was for the members of Motion City Soundtrack. Top Tracks: Hold Me Down, When You’re Around Rating: 7.0/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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