D.C. Motors' debut album could well be mistaken for the soundtrack of a '60s movie. It's not just that the album contains yet another remake of "Pipeline" or that it inspires a certain soft-rock ennui through such wistful ditties as "Angelaire," though these tunes certainly don't help matters any. More to the point, this local trio likes a lean '60s rock sound but frequently lacks the songwriting ingenuity to make it sound fresh or even worth resuscitating.
Largely a collection of derivative ballads and rockers, the album opens with the amateurish "Gimme That There Thing," a song so devoid of virtue it verges on '60s parody. Happily, it's all uphill from there, but the going is slow and the incline gradual at best. Drummer Mike Dimmick is responsible for contributing a couple of rhythmically assertive tunes, upbeat numbers that make up in instrumental tension what they lack in lyrical content. One of these songs, "Sweet Liquor," is enlivened by saxophonist Ron Holloway, and probably is more reflective of the bar-band spirit that D.C. Motors conveys in concert
The band also manages to pull off an affectionately faithful version of the Everly Brothers' classic "Bird Dog," and, in one of the album's few post-'60s departures, borrows a bit from The Clash for its seemingly all-purpose social commentary, "Silence the Underground," which is set to an appealing reggae beat. More often, though, D.C. Motors simply tools along at cruising speed, searching its rear-view mirror. D.C MOTORS -- "D.C. Motors," (International Groove 2001). Appearing Sunday at Oliver's, 3971 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax; and every Thursday at Club Soda.