Metroschifter is one of those bands that you always hear about, but never really hear. The thing is, even if you have heard them, they almost never look or sound the same way twice. A constant rotation of members with the only constant being singer/guitarist Scott Richter coupled with an ambition to always be different puts Metroschifter into a class of their own. That doesn't always mean their music is listenable, however. Over their 7 year career, the Schif has released everything from heavy, rocking 7"s to all-acoustic, almost-country albums to semi-electronic EPs. They are currently in the process of auditioning members for "Metroschifter, Too!", an all new band that would continue to tour the nation and play only Metroschifter songs. It takes a truly dedicated fan to stick with them through everything and still find the good in what they're doing. Encapsulated is the group's latest release, although it is a bit of a puzzler as well. The story behind it is as follows: Scott demoed 21 songs, and hand picked 21 different bands to record those songs for Metroschifter. The end result would be this CD, an entire album full of Metroschifter songs that the band itself didn't play a note on. Well, out of the 21 bands, 7 couldn't participate, and only 1 band declined completely [the uber-cool Shellac]. The other thirteen took these rough demos and turned them into their own.
Out of the 13 tracks, none are truly a bad representation of the band. The Get Up Kids' song sounds like an outtake from the "4 Minute Mile" sessions, being incredibly hyperactive and cheesy-keyboard heavy. The Burning Airlines song is dark and brooding, and it seems perfectly written for J. Robbin's dark voice. It's the best track on this CD by far. The Joan of Arc track is annoying and repetitive, just like every other Joan of Arc song. The Refused song is a departure from the majority of their music, being an acoustic, melodic track. Ironically, this is what I would have expected. Other big names on here are the Promise Ring, Elliott, Ink and Dagger, and Rye Coalition. They all do their job formidably, constructing a Metroschifter song while still retaining their own personality in each note and word. Ironically, it seems like the best Metroschifter material is the stuff that is performed by someone else. This album really is quite the idea, and it was successful in my opinion.