Masked Intruder - M.I.

Reviewed by Mark Plummer

Just who are this melodious foursome? It would appear that no one knows. It may be suitable to suggest that enigma and paradox had an illegitimate child; appearing suddenly out of the celestial void. What can be stated with certainty, is the refreshing sound that they managed to uphold; it’s nostalgic and comforting. For all I know it could be the year 2000 again, playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and indulging myself in the likes of Millencolin and Lagwagon; this isn’t some nancy driven pop-punk sound of the present day, sugar-coated in vocals that sound overproduced and tracks that have the living daylights compressed out of them; this is an album full of anthems to what pop-punk is, and when appropriate, how to divulge from it without raising questions of the bands integrity; to quote New Found Glory: Pop punk is not dead.

Whilst the message in places seems a little dark and twisted, take a look at Crime Spree for starters, it becomes laced with a harmonious lead guitar line that compliments a feel good feeling. Sew this up with the vocal production just before the final chorus of Saturday Night Alone, and whilst this doesn’t necessarily appear it on the surface, here is an album that showcases a wealth of virtuosic minds. If this proves too much to handle, it’s quite satisfying to know that these guys haven’t taken themselves seriously to the point of implosion: “I’m having ice cream everyday and pizza every night” is the cataclysmic line in When I Get Out that, in one fashion or another, keeps this album grounded; both with this lyric and the guitar solo that elevates the track.

Then there are pieces such as: The Most Beautiful Girl, Hey Girl, Weirdo and I Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye to You Tonight; short but sweet in their execution, they help to easily transverse from one part of this album to another. They reiterate the realisation that here are thirteen tracks that are waffle free and don’t concern themselves with adding complex layers in every which way.

Any experimentation that is done, is clever and whilst it may stand out, it blends in perfectly. Take Almost Like We’re Already In Love: it’s riddled with vocals that compliment The Beach Boys and is a cappella throughout, save for a shaker and the finger clicks; it adds imagination and encourages the feeling of surfing down the Californian coastline.

This release is riddled with a Peter Pan complex, but that’s a good thing. Every now and again it’s pleasant to have an album that commandeers the ‘here and now’, replacing it with memories of those ‘good times’. It’s not one of those releases that is a lyrical masterpiece, but that’s exactly why it’s good at what it does. It’s easy listening and fantastic in what it wants to achieve.



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