Motion City Soundrack is a band that’s been around the block. Formed in 1997, the group has seen members come and go and has released six albums, including their latest work “Panic Stations.”
Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, the group currently consists of five members. Their debut album was released in 2002 with a small record label, but later signed with Epitaph Records.
The group is widely known for their blend of pop punk with the moog synthesizer, an older-generation analog music synthesizer.
“Panic Stations” exemplifies much of what the band is known for. From the beginning of the album listeners can hear the moog, as well as the pop punk sound the band recruits fans with.
While the group identifies with pop punk, indie rock and punk revival, there are those who say the group can’t be put in one genre.
In an interview the band did with “Rip It Up” magazine, co-founder and lead vocalist Justin Pierre said the group can be described as “Scrabble Rock.”
“You’ve got to come up with the big words and you get the most points. We try to throw all these big words at you,” he said.
The first track “Anything at All” has a fast beat and gets the album off to an energetic start. Hearing the moog mixed with the other instruments provides an interesting experience.
“Heavy Boots” is the song that the group sounds their heaviest in. While the synthesizer is present, it’s hidden in the background. The song has more driving guitar rhythms and it’s easier to pick out the bass in this track than in others.
“Over it Now” provides a feeling similar to “Heavy Boots.” These two tracks will be the best to listen to for those who enjoy less of the group’s synthesized sound.
The final track on the album, “Days Will Run Away,” is the only song that takes a slow approach, letting listeners take a break from the heavy synthesizer and focus on the lyrics the band offers. If listeners pick up the album, this is the song they’ll want to listen to.
Overall, this is a group for listeners who really enjoy heavy synthesizers and less of a focus on traditional instruments. Motion City Soundtrack has been putting this type of music out for almost 20 years, so they know what they’re doing.
This is a three star album because while the group’s use of the moog is unique, it would be nice to hear them try different sounds. However, make note that this comes from a listener who doesn’t tend to enjoy synthesized sounds in music.