Toronto based Motorists have released one of the more interesting debuts I have heard this year. Surrounded covers an array of genres that swims in post-punk, jangle indie rock, power pop and a classic raw college radio sound from the 80’s. What works is that Motorists successfully combine these different approaches together for a modern 2021 take with sequencing that keeps the album fresh at every track.
Surrounded succeeds because Motorists come at this album from a very simplistic instrument approach. You get isolated running guitar lines as the drums give that foot tapping beat while the vocals always stay out front. The songs are direct and catchy like the opening title track “Surrounded” with almost spoken word lyrics and then a quick harmonizing chorus giving off a Spoon vibe. The song is just a bit over 2 minutes long which was too short for me as you will want more. “Natural Targets” later in the album has a similar guitar pop sound of another band from Canada – Sloan. Many times the isolated vocals and simple guitar lines give off an early R.E.M. college radio vibe that for me was an instant ear grabbing moment. Then there is the last track, “The Door,” which at over 4 minutes is the longest track on the album and finds the band meshing all of their approaches together for a fantastic finish.
Motorists are a solid band with a solid debut in Surrounded. There are plenty of different sounds that any fan of indie rock will enjoy. It is also an album that gets better with every spin and if you are looking for a record that will get your foot tapping – Surrounded is that album!
Key Tracks: “Surrounded” / “The Door” / “Natural Targets”
Artists With Similar Fire: Kiwi Jr. / R.E.M. / Sloan