A match seemingly made in rock ‘n’ roll heaven (or a punky purgatory) One Thousand Motels feature Rat Scabies (The Damned) and Chris Constantinou (Adam Ant, Bow Wow Wow). However, don’t expect these two artists to tread old ground: 2% Out Of Sync finds them forging new ground with only a customary nod to their illustrious pasts.
With its huge sound and ethereal feel, opening cut ‘Beautiful Losers’ was not what I was expecting (which is just the kind of move ageing punkers should pull). It’s a swirling affair that encompasses the listener like a pair of unruly spirits. Powered forward by Rat’s hard-hitting drumming and a blatant disregard for your expectations ‘Beautiful Losers’ is a track that mixes up unusual time signatures to great effect. In a moment of existentialism, the band seem to step outside the song into a parallel world and the result is an earworm of the highest order that’ll haunt you long after the disc has stopped spinning.
With harmonies that remind me of mid-career Blur, ‘Definition’ is punctuated by a riff that shimmers with icy brittleness and is delivered with a surge of high voltage electric shocks. The impressive production adds a real spacial depth inside which our heroes build a wall of sound from solid brick. Having had my preconceived notions of what I thought this album would sound like I’m firmly in the groove by third track ‘Gone’. Similar to the soundtrack of a Sergio Leone western (after imbibing hallucinogens) ‘Gone’ is a tune that’ll discombobulate then ensnare you with its catchy guitar motif.
2%Out Of Sync was recorded on a tight budget, and under difficult circumstances, but you’d never guess as it sounds bright and shiny even when the guys are taking a wry look at life as on the cascading ‘Rain’. With a definite ‘70s vibe it’s layered with electronics and liberally peppered with Eastern flourishes and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it being sung in football stadia when the crowds finally return. If The Beatles had read Kerouac I’d imagine the result would be the evocative ‘Kings X Guru’. With shades of neo-psychedelia it tells of illicit midnight rendezvous in unsavoury parts of town.
On an album that’s always shifting gears ‘Andy’s Wonder World’ is a homage to Warhol that takes a more sultry route while ‘Kill Me If You Love Me’ gets its head down for some straight talking rock n’ roll…and I swear you’ll be singing its refrain at the most inappropriate moments. ‘2% Out Of Sync’ is the title track and it slithers like a snake over hot sand before the conflicting retro/futuristic nature of ‘I Like Sex In The Suburbs’ sounds as good as the title suggests. ‘Gerry’s Ashes’ is a diver entering crystalline water as it expands in ever increasing circles and makes a fitting, if slightly sombre, conclusion.
If your only point of reference to One Thousand Motels is through Rat and Chris’ other bands then the refractive nature of 2% Out Of Sync might come as a shock. But give it a spin: your bravery will be rewarded.
- Reviewed by Peter Dennis
- 2% Out Of Sync is released via Cleopatra Records and is available now
- Beautiful Losers
- Kings X Guru
- Andy’s Wonder World
- Kill Me If You Love Me
- 2% Out Of Sync
- I Like Sex In The Suburbs
- Gerry’s Ashes