If Yeah! and School Punks were nonstop parties, Brownsville Station's fifth album, Motor City Connection, is the hangover, the one where the group reckons with the aftermath of having a good time all of the time. Most of the original numbers are racked in guilt, heartbreak, and self-recrimination, tales of broken hearts and loneliness, highlighted by the moody and driving opener, "Automatic Heartbreak," the bitter yet swaggering "Self Abuse," and the proto-power ballad "You Know Better." In between these moments of introspection are a couple of good covers -- J.B. Hutto's "Combination Boogie" and the Little Walter instrumental "Crazy Legs" -- and the album ends with the suite "They Call Me Rock 'n' Roll," a nine-minute epic that is the closest old-time rock & roll ever came to art rock. Cub Koda is now firmly the band's frontman -- Michael Lutz only sings a segment of "They Call Me Rock 'n' Roll" -- and the group is more musically ambitious here, trying a little bit of everything. Not only is there the aforementioned suite, but there's a variety of guitar sounds; it's not all pedal-to-the-metal distortion. There are some synthesizers in the mix and the entire sound has been streamlined, so it's sleek and hard-hitting, bringing them away from their patented boogie rock and closer to the mid-'70s mainstream. While the bandmembers were most at home tearing it up -- as evidenced by the hardest-rocking numbers here -- they still sounded good with a little more polish, and that variety makes Motor City Connection one of Brownsville Station's more intriguing albums, even if it's not among their most consistent.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine