Motor 76: All the Highs
Alive in the '70s? Well, the five guys in Motor 76 sure were, and the group's songs encapsulate nearly 30 years' worth of rock history in four-minute nuggets. After two EPs, the rowdy, guitar-slinging gang has just issued its first full-length album, All the Highs, a beer-soaked street fight in the summer heat.
The lines on this Motorway get as blurred as the band's major influences — a strong blend of the Hellacopters-meet-Southern rock-meets-Detroit grit with enough snarling punk aesthetic to keep it raw. Punchy anthems punctuate this testosterone-fueled, anthemic ride. Cranked-up guitars rage incessantly, tempered with a keen understanding of pop smarts, served with near-deafening hooks. The songs radiate off the disc like the warm vinyl sound that the Motor men grew up with — and at less than 40 minutes, this 1976-cum-2004 release would fit nicely in your eight-track rack beside Aerosmith, the New York Dolls, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Sweet.
Highlights include "Wasted Time," a punch-drunk relationship ode; "Tick Away," a tale of junkie life and destitution that almost out-Caminos fellow amped-up, raucous ne'er-do-wells the El Caminos; and "Motor 76," "Automatic Cool" and "Last Man Standing," which slam the engine into frenzied call-and-response overdrive, with greasy pit stops at the late '70s CBGB's punk scene and the Star Bar, circa now.
The origin of Motor 76 lies in the charred remnants of Atlanta's Bubbapalooza scene, but recalling that still flickering ember's heyday, the rebel spirit of the twang burns brightly in this band's Southern-accented, high-octane rock and roll.
Motor 76 celebrates its CD release at the Star Bar Fri., July 30, 9 p.m. $5.