At their core, Motorists pull back to the cluster of years wobbling over the wall from the last gasp of ‘70s into the early ‘80s. The band devours the sneers n’ stains strain of power pop but temper it with the kind of tension-riddled jerk-pop that made The Soft Boys, Feelies, Cleaners from Venus, and Wire imprint on all who heard them. Without sounding like they’re shooting straight for any of those targets wholesale, the band manages to capture the same adventurous spirit of their influences, feeling like they’re tying knots in the radio-ready expectations of the jangle jockeys while exploring the boundaries of post-punk’s jitter with an eye on modern convinces and current waves of dread.
With roots in a wide array of Canadian indie rippers (Tough Age, Feel Alright, the revived Simply Saucer) the band members come with plenty of plaudits to their name, but something about Motorists snaps into place more immediately than some of their concurrent crews. It’s the kind of ‘record nerds making music for record nerds’ release that works well without spoiling it for those who haven’t spent years diving down tributaries of the Yellow Pills parade or Armageddon Recs b-sides. The band’s nervous candor slices the summer air, cutting through the humidity with a fresh breeze bliss one minute and a careen of sweaty-palmed hooks the next.
From the shifty isolation of the staccato-stamped opener, to the almost effortless tumble of “Through To You,” the record vamps like the pretty boys gone punk before them. Yet, while flashes of 20/20 and The Records rear their head, the band doesn’t pine for spring crushes and wild nights, instead letting the lingering lament of isolation, technological fallout, and the hedge maze of wires we live in dominate the field of view. Surrounded is a modern panic manual dressed up in its Sunday best, luring listeners in with a coif of breezed pop, but sinking in its teeth the moment you turn your back. A damn fine debut that promises to wriggle under the skin further with each listen.
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