Review: Motion City Soundtrack – Panic Stations
Motion City Soundtrack
For most bands, the sixth album marks a desolate turning point where the music starts to feel stale, the shows start to fall flat, and the band themselves are all kinds of strung out. In all respects, the opposite is true for Motion City Soundtrack. Justin Pierre is in the best mental state he’s been in since the band’s beginnings, their live show is still insanely energetic, and Panic Stations is without a doubt their most outgoing record yet.
Whereas the band would previously record everything in pieces and then sew it all together in post, Panic Stations was recorded almost entirely live, with only a couple of synths and some textural details added later on. The end result doesn’t sound as raw as these types of records tend to, but the polish is a lot less meticulous – there are some echoes, some bumps and some frays, and when compared with 2012’s Go, they add to what truly feels like a welcome change of pace. One of the first albums to be recorded in the newly-restored Pachyderm studio (notable as the breeding grounds for Nirvana’s In Utero) Panic Stations is a pop-rock producer’s dream come true: an animated spate of rubric beats and hooky riffs, doused in elastic pop stylings and stitched together with flossy synths.
Lyricisms are simple but heartfelt, Pierre’s honeyed poetry overlapping waves of stoic elation and statuesque melancholy. For a songwriter who’s always sounded so hopeless, there’s a luminous slither of optimism to be embraced on Panic Stations; for every other “Gravity”, there’s an “It’s a Pleasure to Meet You”. Brushing aside the excessively sluggish and overlong closer “Days Will Run Away”, album number six is another home run for Motion City Soundtrack. It’s lively, fluid, and consistently engaging – musical comfort food.