Chattanooga band Mythical Motors exist in the fuzzed-out, fizzy memories of early ’90s indie rock. The guitars jangle but have a prevalent roughness which speaks to their lo-fi origins, and the songs themselves possess a specific brevity that allows for brief glimpses into their pop-rock machinations but which also reveals a deeper reverence the more times you hear them. Taking inspiration from bands like Guided By Voices and Sebadoh, they’ve long perfected this style of intense and succinct musical exploration.
But even with such memorable and immediate influences, the band doesn’t wallow in the past and doesn’t trade on bland nostalgia. Led by frontman and primary songwriter Matt Addison, they speak to these antecedents without becoming burdened by the combined mass of their weight. Yes, it can sound familiar for anyone with a passing interest in proto-indie rock, but their work is filled with such a melodic relevance and fierceness of spirit that the songs are able to support their own unique identity rather than barter on the memories of their musical heroes.
On their new EP, “Negative Eleven,” the songs come fast and jangly, built for maximum impact and minimum exposure. Their raucous garage-pop personalities shake and shudder, all the while expanding upon the sounds that the band has developed over the course of their considerable discography. Coming roughly 6 months after 2017’s “The Life Stage,” this collection of songs stays true to their DIY approach but still manages to feel broader and more muscular than what you might expect.
With 8 songs clocking in at less than 15 minutes, there’s got to be some quickly defined patterns and landscapes to hold our attention, and “Negative Eleven” doesn’t disappoint. Written and performed entirely by Addison, these tracks shift and evolve, and even in their condensed condition, they find ways to surprise and instill a sense of spontaneity into these well-mined sounds. After so many releases (around a dozen spread out over the last 5 years), you’d think that the band would have run out of things to say, but with “Negative Eleven,” Addison has created an homage to our energetic musical memories and the craters they leave in our subconscious.
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.