Masked Intruder’s sophomore full-length, M.I., is cut from the exact same cloth as the cloaked quartet’s self-titled debut: They’re both 13 tracks, they both clock in around 30 minutes, and they’re both packed with humorous, catchy, retro-leaning bubblegum pop-punk that melds together Screeching Weasel, the 1994 versions of Green Day and Weezer, and That Thing You Do!’s fictional Wonders. The vocal harmonies are crisp (“The Most Beautiful Girl,” the entirely a cappella doo-wop number “Almost Like We’re Already In Love”), the crime-and-punishment-inspired lyrics are clever and memorable (“Crime Spree,” “When I Get Out”), the guitar solos are plentiful, and the songwriting is light years ahead of most modern punk bands. (The arrangement on “Stars” alone is proof.) When the band mess around with structure a bit, as on the 6/8-time crunchy geek-rock number “Weirdo,” it’s a smashing success—think Weezer’s “Susanne” on uppers. There’s no band playing sillier music more seriously than Masked Intruder. Thank them by buying this album and gluing it inside your car stereo.
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