The thing that always made Motion City Soundtrack stand out from their early 00s pop-punk contemporaries was frontman Justin Courtney Pierre‘s unique voice. On this solo venture, and first release since the band’s long-term hiatus in 2016, he takes centre stage in a debut full-length finding his feet without the support of a band behind him.
What Pierre has ended up with is an alternative rock album with pop-punk undertones combining the style of the bands he grew up on, from The Replacements to Weezer, with the pop-punk sensibilities of Motion City Soundtrack ever present.
Marching band drums and horns announce Pierre‘s return with bombast on opening track, ‘Undone’. Favouring more of a folky vocal style than we have heard from him before, ‘In The Drink’ allows Pierre to explore the full range of his vocal capabilities.
The middle section of the record is where it really kicks off. ‘Ready Player One’ and ‘I’m A Liar’ are all fast guitars and soaring chorus hooks made for screaming along to. Although ‘I’m A Liar’ is subtle from the off, once the chorus sets in, the refrain of “I’m a liar, I can’t tell the truth when I’m with you” harks back to the early 00s emo sound that Pierre‘s fans have been waiting to hear.
‘In The Drink’ allows Justin Courtney Pierre to shed the expectations following being a part of Motion City Soundtrack, and break out in his own direction. On his debut solo venture, he showcases his strengths outside of the pop-punk genre, combining his varied influences to create a fun and interesting solo sound that’s uniquely his alone.