Pop-punk band Motion City Soundtrack released their fourth studio album, My Dinosaur Life, on Jan. 19 and while the release was welcomed, it lacks the same whimsical, emotional quality of their previous album, Even if it Kills Me.
Dinosaur, the band's first album with Columbia Records, starts off a bit slow, introducing the listener to songs like "Worker Bee" and "Her Words Destroyed My Planet," which sound a bit thrown together and immature compared to some of their past works.
The album has a late '90s, raw feel to it, perhaps because Mark Hoppus of blink-182 fame produced it. While a throwback to the early parts of the last decade of pop-punk are appreciated, it becomes frustrating on Dinosaur because it almost seems like a step back for MCS after the mature, crisp sounds of their previous album.
It is unfortunate that this particular album came after the expertly crafted, Even if it Kills Me and Commit This to Memory, since the album has the potential to stand on its own otherwise.
Despite the slow start, the album picks up with "Delirium," in which crazy-haired lead singer Justin Pierre croons about prescription drugs and how he "swims in pharmaceuticals." The guys of Motion City assert their classic nerd-core lyrics in the track "Pulp Fiction," when Pierre alludes to movies such as Inspector Gadget and Godzilla.
The album ends on a high, albeit repetitive, note with songs like the catchy "Hysteria" with signature fast-paced lyrics and "The Weakends," the powerful last track. While the last song has a darker feel that isn't necessarily congruous with the rest of the album, it leaves the audience feeling complete and fulfilled, providing us with the mature sound we've longed for throughout the whole album.
My Dinosaur Life definitely satiates the pop-punk fan's yearning for new Motion City Soundtrack material, but it will never measure up to the playful nature of the band's signature songs such as "L.G. Fuad," and "The Future Freaks Me Out." A band such as this has the talent and resources to push themselves further and constantly improve their work, while still staying true to themselves as artists.
With their new record label and production from big names in the industry, MCS has the potential to become even bigger than they already are without compromising the integrity of their music.