Can a group overcome a number of obvious influences? In the case of Mystery Machine, the answer is "yes, for the most part." The obvious influences on the debut album are a veritable who's-who of the indie rock world of the '80s, most notably Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, and Ride (who they even name check with one of the song titles). Tempos shift, guitar playing is melodically dissonant (oddly enough) and jagged, and everything is layered into a big wash of sound. Sure, it's a bit naïve in places, but Mystery Machine does a pretty good job of not sounding like any one of its influences for too long in any one place, which is a feat in and of itself, especially when many other '90s acts chose to simply rip off their heroes shamelessly. -AMG
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