The work of Chattanooga indie rockers Mythical Motors is carved from a very particular lo-fi aesthetic—it's the kind of DIY sound that was perfected by bands like Guided By Voices and Sebadoh. But what makes Mythical Motors so unique among their indie rock brethren is their unabashed love for this communal source material. They're not wanting to reinvent the genre; they're simply looking to render a good deal of nuance and detail from its familiar nooks and recesses. The band has spent their career pouring their muscle and heart into these rhythms and has created some of the most faithful recreations from the early '90s, while still putting their own mesmerizing spin on the material.
On their latest record, "Running the Shine," the band continues to mine these various indie rock veins, coming away with something that sounds recognizable but is spiked with an inalienable pop-punk vitality. Their work has always felt slender and lean, a counter to the overstuffed production that seems to choke the life from most music, and they further explore the effectiveness of dialing back the complexity when it's needed while still cranking the volume when an amplified charge seems to be the best course of action. They're able to balance between the minimalist nature of their work and a more muscular guitar-driven approach.
Indulging influences from a wide spectrum of artists—including The Beatles, Elvis Costello and R.E.M.—these 16 tracks cover a lot of ground even within the confines of indie rock's often-homogeneous landscape. Focusing on the interplay between melody and lithe guitar rhythms, the band breaks down the casual assumptions that often come with the common cadences of indie rock—while also delivering a fervent thesis on the viability of the genre in an overcrowded marketplace. With "Running the Shine," they illuminate the necessity of subtle experimentation within familiar sounds, which correlates perfectly to the rhythmic sentiments that wind their way through this rambunctious and excitable record.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.