Masked Intruder - Masked Intruder
Record Label: Red Scare
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Great pop-punk doesn't have to be complicated. It can be fun, goofy, and memorable all at the same time. Masked Intruder, recently snatched up from Red Scare by Fat Wreck, manages to do that on their self-titled debut. Masked Intruder are four mysterious masked men who haven't revealed their identity. All communication from them comes from a keyboard with a broken caps lock key. They don't take themselves very seriously, and neither should you. There's been a lot of discussion about who the band is, and while I certainly have no inside information, there are several familiar sounding vocalists throughout the album, including Chixdiggit's KJ Jansen. The masks will have to come off to confirm my suspicions. Multiple vocalists on the record alternate tracks seamlessly, and the album is full of neatly wrapped pop treats with clean vocals and production.
The lyrics on Masked Intruder appear to be the standard fare about girls and love at first listen, but after you listen a few times you start to realize the gimmick extends to the lyrics as the band, in all sincerity, talks about breaking into homes, holding people at knife point, and stalking women. It's all done behind the veil of bouncy pop-punk and oozes charm. "Hello Beautiful" hilariously croons "I can tell by the look that's in your eyes, that you don't consider this a nice surprise, finding me here in your house." You can't help but buy into the Masked Intruder gimmick, it's simply as addictive as the songs are catchy. It's a difficult thing to write straight-forward pop-punk that still manages to be layered and memorable, and the band achieves that easily. Masked Intruder holds up extremely well to repeat listens.
As addictive as Masked Intruder is, it's not a perfect debut - there are some clunkers that drag the fun a bit - "Why Don't You Love Me in Real Life" is a miscast slow song that reads a bit too corny, even for Masked Intruder. "25 to Life" is a mediocre opener to the record, but it is quickly saved by the perfect driving anthem "How Do I Get to You," one of the strongest tracks on the record. Pop-punk records, especially on repeat listens, are all about momentum - if you break pace or veer off-course, you need to recover quickly. Masked Intruder is paced and organized quite well in that regard, as the borderline doo-wop song "Unrequited Love" is immediately followed by "Breakin'", one of the album's faster (and better) songs. Masked Intruder appears to understand the importance of flow, and outside of swapping out the opening track, it is hard to find criticism in the organization of this record.
It appears that Masked Intruder is made up of musicians who have been making music in this genre for a long time, and it shows. Masked Intruder is one of the catchiest albums of the year, and stands strong to looped listens. If you enjoy bands like Chixdiggit! or Teenage Bottlerocket, you're going to love Masked Intruder. They are a worthy addition to Fat Wreck and if this release is any indication, the future for these burglary-obsessed masked men is bright.
So glad to have you back, Scott. I think you're perfect for this gig. Lots of great punk releases this year that were overlooked and never got proper reviews. If I had more time, I'd cover all of them - so I'm thrilled you took this job back. This album took me by surprise and I love the dark humor over tight melodies. Perfect fit for Fat.
Great to see a review of this album, the band is great, but I found two things in this review that confuse me a little:
Maybe I'm reading wrong, but are you saying there are in fact multiple vocalists on the album/in the band? And are you saying KJ IS on the album, or Blue just really sounds like him?
It sounds to me like there are different vocalists on the record, but I'm just speculating, same with KJ. I don't know if he's in the band but certain songs sound identical. Like I said, just speculating. part of the mystery!