What could possibly be the biggest rags-to-riches success story in the coming months might very well be the biography of one Motion City Soundtrack. Starting from humble beginnings in Minneapolis, and clawing and scraping their name into the respectability column of so many scenester's minds, the band's vision is finally realized with this, the album they've always wanted.
What's that, you say? The band already released this album last year by themselves? Well, you're correct, but this album has almost a completely different feel. For starters, the packaging is 100% different [but still just as creative, with a gorgeous layout including transparency paper].
As for the music itself, the songs have received a fresh coat of paint in the form of re-recorded bass parts as well as some bells and whistles here and there [most notably the addition of a tambourine in "Mary Without Sound"]. The whole album has been beefed up a bit production-wise by Ed Rose once again, so each song shines even more than it did before.
Now for those of you who were smart enough to buy the self-released version of the album [and haven't sold it on eBay yet], you might wonder why you should drop another 12 bucks to pick up what you may believe is the same disc. Well, for starters, the band removed Paper Cranes" from the tracklisting and added 4 different songs in it's place. Since you can read about what I thought about the original album here, I'll spend the majority of the review focusing on these new songs.
Perfect Teeth - this is sort of a "The Future Freaks Me Out" part two, with nostalgic lyrics coupled with an insanely catchy vocal line delivered by lead singer Justin [whose voice has gotten way better since he recorded the original batch of songs a year or so ago]. Super catchy, thumbs up.
Modern Chemistry - Clocking in at barely 2 minutes, the song seems almost like an afterthought; the music is rather repetitive, but on subsequent listens, the lyrics really grow on you. The buildup of the last chorus is rather powerful, too, and it's hard not to play air drums along with it. Oh yeah, and you can't go wrong with falsetto "Oohs" ever. Ever.
Capital H - This received my first "You gotta be kidding me!" award in recent times, as the song has been recorded a record third time for three separate releases [Their self-titled EP and their split CD with Schatzi both had different recordings of the song]. MCS decided to once again record what used to be my favorite song by them, and by this point it's had a lot of it's life sucked out of it. I'll always be the scenester and say the first version was the best, but that's just me. Basically, this is one of the band's catchiest songs they've ever written, and it is a smart addition to the album overall, considering this will be most peoples' first taste of MCS.
Autographs & Apologies - this song has been a live favorite in the band's set for the past few tours, and it showcases the group's darker side of their MOOG-pop. If it's a taste of things to come for the quintet, then I want to eat the whole thing.
When I first reviewed this album last December, I enjoyed it a lot but wasn't in love with it for reasons I couldn't place my finger on. With the re-release sounding so much sharper and crisper, plus the addition of 4 more tracks which all get a thumbs up, the album has inched up on my scale. This could very well be the quintessential summer CD for your car stereo, along with Spitalfield's "Remember Right Now." Check it out.