You’re upsetting all the punk kids.

Review: Even If It Kills Me, Motion City Soundtrack

I had a feeling this might happen. Motion City Soundtrack, who have come up with some of the best moments in the almost-punk zone over the last few years (The Future Freaks Me Out, much of Commit This To Memory), decide to work with some of the biggest pop-rock producers out there (Ric Ocasek, Adam Schlesinger), both of whom happen to have an amazing way with a hook.

Even If It Kills MeAnd all of those fans who’d begun to listen to them and fell in love with their quirky lyrics and catchiness would probably love it, and those who’d listened and liked MCS because they’re slightly different than say, Story of the Year, in that they don’t scream out their choruses probably wouldn’t.

So I read the reviews for Even If It Kills Me, and guess what? The quirk fans love it and the punk kids mostly hate it. And it does have a lot to do with the slicker production.

My guess is that MCS would be the first band from Epitaph Records — home of Bad Religion and The Offspring — likely to hire Ocasek and Schlesinger. (OK, maybe the Weakerthans…)

And it’s not as though MCS is exactly radically changing its sound. Let’s leave that to bands like Silverchair or Finger Eleven. MCS has always had that wonderful keyboard sound from Jesse Johnson. Justin Pierre has always had an eccentric pen when it comes to lyrics.

So… how good is Even If It Kills Me?

Well, it definitely has its moments of strength. It bolts out of the gate with I Fell In Love Without You and Antonia is the best song they’ve done since Future.

But it can fall on its face at other points (Hello Helicopter, the sleepy ballad The Conversation).

(Interestingly, the album’s best and worst moments come from Schlesinger and co-producer Eli Janney of Girls vs. Boys. Ocasek’s contributions, with the exception of the single Broken Heart, don’t have as much of a lasting effect.)

For fans of the band, let me say this. You will love most of this record. If you’re new to MCS, you might do better to pick up I Am The Movie, then try this one out.

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