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Album Review: Motion City Soundtrack, "My Dinosaur Life"

By Allison Stewart

It would be easy to mistake Motion City Soundtrack for a guyliner band of recent vintage - a less punny Fall Out Boy, circa '07, with the same brutally efficient hooks, the same self-deprecating and clever songs about girls.

But Motion City Soundtrack is more nostalgic, and more ambitious, than that: The band's scruffy, peppy, hopelessly likable major label debut, "My Dinosaur Life," seems consciously patterned after late-'90s punk-pop albums by bands like MxPx and Blink-182 (whose bassist, Mark Hoppus, in a nice bit of symmetry, serves as producer here).

(Fast and occasionally furious, after the jump.)

MCS has been kicking around the minor leagues for more than a decade, and "Dinosaur," its fourth full-length release, feels as if it has a foot in two worlds: Its musical sympathies plainly lie in 1997, which is roughly the last time there was any prestige associated with the words "major label debut," and many of its reference points date back to the of the Bush administration (note its mention of the long-ago canceled "Veronica Mars").

It's fast (the giddy "Delirium," the should-be single "Worker Bee"), occasionally furious (the weirdly rant-y "@!#?@!") and seems to actually have something on its mind (the narcotic, free-associative "Pulp Fiction"). Even though "Dinosaur" occasionally seems unsure of what it's nostalgic for, at its best it's a charmer that evokes punk-pop's halcyon, pre-Wentzian days, when emo hadn't yet taken over the genre and ruined it forever.

Motion City Soundtrack plays the Recher Theater in Towson on Feb. 1.

Recommended tracks: "Worker Bee," "Her Words Destroyed My Planet," "Disappear"

By David Malitz  |  January 19, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: Motion City Soundtrack  
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