Returning after an almost 20 year hiatus from performing with one another, Andrew McLaughlin and Paul Shea have reconnected as the post-rock band Champion Motorist. The Melbourne Australia based band move from brooding post-rock passages that revel in heavy ambient passages pregnant with anticipation and full-throated riffage that push against the genre’s embedded structure of slow-build-to-catharsis.
Taking cues from the riffier side of post-rock Champion Motorist channel bands like Trans AM, The Fucking Champs and Russian Circles while hurtling through their muscular chops on tracks like “Slight Return” while throttling it back to dark and contemplative territories on “Bleed”.
The opening track “Dear Liars” is what sucked me immediately in. A race towards the light, always ascending composition, “Dear Liars” is built around a relatively simple riff that gradually grows in intensity through an increase in tempo and volume. An always traveling, never arriving number the track is heavy with anticipation until the massive payoff. Without changing the structure dramatically, the bottom end gets incredibly heavy and riffs become more and more stately and defined. A total sell-all until the finish line. Exactly the kind of work that makes me realize how potent a format post-rock can be for expressing ineffable positive emotions. You feel like you can tear a phone book in half after the final notes bleed into the omnipresent feedback and distortion.
It seems like Champion Motorist never quite missed a beat in the 20 years they spent apart. I am excited to see more fruits of their reconnection.