When a band is on album number six or seven, most find themselves stuck in a rut, plagued with stagnation as they just churn out the same old shit whilst cruising on auto-pilot. Just take a look at Korn‘s ‘See You On The Other Side’, Staind‘s oh so aptly named ‘The Illusion Of Progress’, and Bowling For Soup‘s ‘more of the same’ ‘The Great Burrito Extortion Case’.
Now, Motion City Soundtrack were hinting at torpidity with their last effort ‘Go’; a flaccid non-rock excuse of an album. The thing is though, they know that it was a poor effort too, which is why you’ll very rarely see a track from ‘Go’ ever grace the set list of a MSC show. However, they have avoided the career-killing pit of mediocrity by injecting their trademark bite from the early years back into their sound for album number six, ‘Panic Stations’.
This isn’t so much a return to their quirky-indie-emo-pop roots of yesteryear, but instead a violent wake-up in MCS‘s current state of mind. ‘Panic Stations’ has flavours of all of their albums within it, but mostly tastes of ‘This Dinosaur Life’ (‘TKO’ and ‘Heavy Boots’) and ‘Even If It Kills Me’ (‘Broken Arrow’ and ‘It’s A Pleasure To Meet You’) due to the light use of distortion topped with a healthy dollop of delicious synths. There are even hints of ‘Go’ in there with just a dab of reverb laced of the occasional song like ‘Lose Control’.
‘Panic Stations’ is a triumphant return to form for Motion City Soundtrack, and is 11 solid tracks of paranoid, angst ridden lyrics hidden under the bouncy vibrancy of pure pop-punk. This is an album that fans can easily get behind, and one that anyone can get something from. ‘Panic Stations’ is exactly what ‘Go’ should have been – a noticeable and measurable progression in the band’s sound whilst retaining their wonderful, synth-fuelled blend of frivolity and melancholy.
Written by Andy Roberts (@Sassensquatch)