The Motorists debut album Surrounded evokes an immediate sense of nostalgia, particularly to the jangly powerpop of the ’80s but also to the postpunk and other guitar-oriented genres from that era. Craig Fahner, Matt Learoyd, and Jesse Locke make up the band from Canada. They started three years ago, although the member have a history of being in bands together going back to their teenage years. Past bands of Fahner, Learoyd and Locke include Feel Alright, Leather Jacuzzi, Tough Age, Simply Saucer, We Knew and Chandra.
Motorists first caught my ears with their excellent 2020 EP From The Wreckage. Its follow up Surrounded is by no means a perfect album, and the fact that Motorists do not try to hide their imperfections is part of their charm. It gives the song an authentic rough-around-the-edges feel and I’m pretty sure the band will sound more or less like this at their live shows. Fahner (guitar) and Learoyd (bass) alternate and complement each other well, and in combination with the steady beat of Locke, they give each song a distinct vibe. The power pop oriented songs are my favorites, and Through To You is the kind of underground hit that wouldn’t look out of place on any powerpop lost hits compilation from the 70s or 80s. The more postpunk oriented songs like title track Surrounded work as well, particularly because Motorists has a talent for offsetting angular riff heavy verses with catchy and straightforward choruses. I am definitely buying this co-release by We Are Time, Debt Offensive and Bobo Integral Records.