It’s fair to say that 2020 wasn’t the year any of us had planned, but this couldn’t be any more true for Motion City Soundtrack frontman, Justin Courtney Pierre, who had a year of shows and his second solo album in the pipeline.
Whilst the pandemic put a halt to the former, an unexpected fall in the shower meant the majority of 2020 was spent getting himself fit and healthy again, forcing him to put any hope of releasing a full-length on hold and, in turn, release the five tracks that were already produced as an EP, ‘An Anthropologist On Mars’.
Opener ‘Dying To Know’ may only be a little over a minute and half in length, but is a brilliantly strong start setting up the record perfectly. It provides the ideal blend of pop-punk and maturity, something which long standing fans of his work will no doubt love, not to mention this song will stick in your head for hours after listening to it.
There’s a running theme of self-deprecation that rears its head throughout the EP, with ‘I Hate Myself’ being the most obviously referenced to this theme. Although the lyrics detail how he sees himself and his talents in lines such as “Each approval, each complemental phrase / Feels like a dagger at my throat”, it’s likely that many will find themselves relating to this track.
‘Footsteps’ offers up quite a nostalgic affair, reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World‘s style of 2000s pop-rock whilst still incorporating some incredibly catchy melodies in the chorus, as well as some gang chants which you can’t help but sing along to.
Shaking up the pace, ‘Promise Not To Change’ is a little more chaotic than the other tracks on offer, almost leaning towards an old school Motion City Soundtrack style with an incredible punk infused guitar solo that gives this track the standout recognition it deserves.
Closer ‘Illuminations’ is a beautiful way to end this short but sweet record, and really showcases Pierre‘s vocals and impeccable lyrical ability. Closing out with a minute’s worth of pure instrumentation surprisingly works really well, and you can’t but wonder if this would’ve been the last track on offer if this had been the full album that was originally intended.
Although ‘An Anthropologist On Mars’ was never meant to be just these five tracks, each song is so good, you ironically are left wishing there were more. It’s a shame that the full-length didn’t happen as planned, but, if anything, it just gives everyone something else to look forward to. In the meantime, this EP will fill that void, and we can’t wait to hear what comes next from Justin Courtney Pierre.