Mythical Motors are one of Chattanooga’s most prolific and consistently engaging bands, with over 10 releases spread out over the past five years. Their blend of lo-fi indie rock and fuzzed-up pop is as hypnotizing as it was when Guided By Voices and The Clean first held court over their respective records. There’s a familiarity to their music for those people accustomed to these specific rhythmic avenues, but the band manages to inject a sense of vivid creative spontaneity and reverence into every one of their songs.
Their songs hum with a life all their own, regardless of how many influences you can spot. The guitars jangle and clatter as drums bound around in the background. Kin to the artists who proliferated on Flying Nun Records in the ’80s, Mythical Motors offer up a sound that bridges power pop, garage rock and indie rock without losing the unique textures people have come to expect from the band. And with each subsequent record, they expand the DIY pop-rock aesthetic they’ve cultivated since they first began making music.
On their latest record, “The Life Stage,” the band channels the spirits of bands like Big Star and Teenage Fanclub, slinging sugary melodies and effervescent rhythms that fizz and pop in your head. This is even more impressive when you realize that frontman Matt Addison played all the instruments on the record except for three tracks (out of 26) credited to the full band. Few bands can totally submerge themselves in a particular sound without sacrificing their individuality, but these songs hold on to a certain musical specificity while exploring a wider expanse of influence.
And while their past releases have shown the band moving toward a larger, more cinematic sound, “The Life Stage” presents this expansive environment as a culmination of their work. Across a roughed-up pop-rock landscape, they line each track with experiences that lead them to focus on different aspects of their rhythmic personality. These songs aren’t held to any given melodic framework—they shuffle across a wide spectrum of sounds. Clocking in at around 55 minutes, this album wastes no space, providing a lean and sinewy indie rock atmosphere where the band can dig through their collective histories while still looking ahead to what the future holds.
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.