Equal parts blues, outlaw country, and visceral garage rock, there’s no describing the sound Waydown Wailers are rocking in their new single “Motor Scooter” without using words like hybrid and experimental, yet I’d hesitate in lumping their aesthetics in with the vast pool of left-field rock acts dominating the underground at the moment. Where a lot of other groups have been basking in the influence of outwardly surreal soundscapes, Waydown Wailers are more focused, more assaultive in their approach to making a familiar, blues-influenced rock n’ roll sound just a bit more relatable and blue-collar in nature.
There’s certainly no denying the bluntness of their style in general, but in comparison to what I’ve been listening to from the bulk of their competitors in 2023, theirs is one of the more unique products I’ve come across. It’s often said by critics both mainstream and indie the same that being both retro and modern at the same time is next to impossible, but out of all the bands that have tried to do it anyway in the past couple of years, this is by far my favorite of the lot.
You’d never know how strikingly difficult a cocktail of artistic elements Waydown Wailers are dishing out here just by judging the seamlessness of their play; in all honesty, the swagger they impart to us just through the chemistry they generate in their performance of “Motor Scooter” has as big a part to play in creating the narrative in this single as any verse ever could.
The beat is another primary contributor to the mood, and due to the intensity of its punch, the melodic instrumentation is never left to push along the rest of the band in a way only the rhythm section should. This master mix fleshes out the texture in the material rather elegantly but doesn’t sacrifice any of the natural grit here in exchange for an unnecessarily sharp and varnished sound. The vocal harmonies tie everything together in a fashion you just can’t get out of production wizardry alone, and it’s because of organic features like this that I’ve been drawn back to the song as many times as I have since first checking it out this week.
When you’re trying to break into an era in music as cutthroat and competitive as the present is, a sexy start is everything. Waydown Wailers are more than aware of this in “Motor Scooter,” and being that this is only the second track I’ve heard from the group since their formation, I’d say they couldn’t have asked for a better kickstart for their discography and those who have been craving a sound as decadent as this one for quite some time now. “Motor Scooter” presents us with a fetching combination of rusticity and hard-edged blues-rock that doesn’t apologize for its bitterness nor its angst – it wears the look as its own. I love what I’m hearing from this band so far, and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to muster up in and outside of the studio next.