Bad Copy

Justin Courtney Pierre
Record Review

Justin Courtney Pierre – In the Drink

The next logical step in the ongoing saga of sorrow.

Photo: Dan Monick

In the Drink

October 12, 2018
Epitaph Records

I imagine it must be maddening to be doing a job for twenty years and then stopping suddenly. That’s how long Motion City Soundtrack was together before going on hiatus in 2016. I recently lost a job that I’ve only had for about a year and have been going up the walls trying to fill my days. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Now that there’s time to do all the shit I usually stay up until X o’clock AM working on, I have to actually get myself together and fucking do it. It’s been harder than I expected. But little by little, things are beginning to take shape. Following the breakup of Motion City Soundtrack, it would seem vocalist Justin Courtney Pierre had a similar experience with boredom and frustration. The result being his first and highly anticipated solo album, In the Drink.

Like any good musician who makes a move to focus on domestic life, it didn’t take long for Pierre to get back to work. What better way to spend your time away from being in a band than revisiting old song ideas? That need to be creating lest you go a little mad is very demanding. Pierre takes a mixtape approach with In the Drink, exploring a range of influences from the pop-punk heavy tracks like “Anchor” “Ready Playerne” or “In the Drink” to more subdued, synth heavy numbers like “Undone” and “Goodnight Hiroyuki.” It’s undeniable how similar these songs sound to Motion City Soundtrack and that’s fine. When it came to being goofy and gloomy, MCS did it better than most and keeping that vibe going is more than welcome.

I used to be too cool for certain bands many years ago and that cost me dearly in the good times department. Motion City Soundtrack was a casualty of this attitude and it wasn’t until I met my wife that some real progress was made to remedy the situation. I was worried that as a fledgling fan of Motion City, I would feel left out of Justin’s first solo venture. However, that isn’t the case at all.

While I still have a ways to go playing catch up, I’m excited about the warm, inviting, and completely unassuming approach In the Drink takes with its presentation. It’s an album that finds Pierre exploring deeper themes of growing older and invites others to come along and start noticing more of life’s little oddities. Why else would the songs be so damned catchy and infectious if they weren’t meant to bring as many friends to the table as possible? I haven’t been able to stop singing “I Don’t Know Why She Ran Away” for weeks now and that is A-OK in my book.

More important than anything, the album is fun the entire way through. Most of these ten songs are supposed to be older ideas flushed out, and that makes sense. In the Drink reminds me of being a youth and my discernible excitement for new material from bands like Saves the Day or Weezer. You know, before they started to go completely off the rails, but continue putting out material anyway. It’s clear that Justin Pierre isn’t about to let a little thing like not being in a band slow down his output; he played all of the instruments on this record besides the drums, after all.

In the Drink offers Motion City Soundtrack fans the next logical step in the ongoing saga of sorrow. It’s a strong record that stands strong on it’s own and establishes a solid foundation that should satisfy not just those who remained until the wee hours of the morning for Motion City Soundtrack’s final show. The absence of their signature sanguine sadness has been palpable over the last few years. Thankfully that can now come to a close and we can all go back to to misery’s bouncy embrace.

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