One Thousand Motels developed from the core of The Mutants and sees drummer Rat Scabies (The Damned) and bassist / multi-instrumentalist Chris Constantinou (Adam & The Ants) bring vocalist Sean Wheeler (Josh Homme) to the party. The band have a new album ‘Get In Where You Fit In’ recorded between London, Memphis, and Palm Springs and the follow up to the band’s debut ‘2% Out Of Sync’. The guys have added the talents of guitarist Hal Lindes, The First Street Choir, Preston Heyman (percussion), Steve ‘West’ Weston (harmonica), The Specials’ Horns, pianist Diz Watson and Marc Franklin (trumpet) and Arthur Edmaiston (saxophone) from the legendary Memphis Horns. The songs on the album deal with sacrifice, struggle, destruction, redemption, devotion, and hedonism, born out of these guys time spent on the road.
The album opens with `When The Rabbit`s Got The Gun` which is an expansive rock, soul, gospel come almost preached spoken word composition with some delightful horns, pounding drums and cracking guitar riffs throughout with some enchanting vocal harmonies towards the latter part. There was a bluesy Dr Feelgood meets Tom Waits feel to `Dark Harvest` with a pulsating drum like heartbeat leading us through this wonderfully chaotic jam with horns, harmonica, howled vocals, and quite retro garage rock guitar.
`Brand New Headline` has some intricately shared brass and wah wah sounding guitar on this quite funky gospel come soulful trip. We have more of an old style rock n roll dirty sleazy number with `Reel Me In` with deep pitched saxophone vibes and a retro sounding guitar solo. A track which really lends itself to Sean`s wide-ranging vocals.
`God Is Good` as you`d imagine from the title retains a gospel flavour with the choir rounding out the sound with the aid of some storming brass and horns. A number that would have fitted in during Primal Scream`s `Movin` On Up` period. There was more of a field type call and response marching cadence to `Spirit Flies Free`, a superbly emotive number.
`Sing A Long` is a quite hypnotic number led by some marvellous percussion, a bongo or conga drum, some lonesome harmonica and distant guitar chords allowing Sean`s vocal delivery to give it a kind of late night dreamy ambiance. A church like organ directs us along `Somewhere Else` where the vocals are almost spoken. The addition of the choir and mesmerising horns give this number a deep and meaningful mystical touch.
`Zion` is a fast paced bluesy rock out which could have come straight out the Blues Brothers review with musicians jumping about and doing cartwheels, but I suppose i`ve read it wrong and its maybe spiritual. We have a funky soulful excursion with `Tell Me` a track that sounds like a nursery rhyme or the old rhythm and blues `Iko Iko` song.
`Let Me Know` is more of a bar room blues with rolling drums, a tinkling piano and a trumpet building a base for Sean`s beseeching vocals. We also enjoy a yearning guitar solo towards the end. The soulful ‘Blood Makes The Grass Grow Green` really showcases the bellowing impassioned vocal pitch that this singer can reach. Funky guitar riffs, blistering brass, a throbbing bass line, percussive beats and complementary vocal harmonies assist to the overall colour of this submission.
`Temptation` is another classy bluesy soul number with horn splurges, wah wah guitar chords, harmonic backing vocals and a guitar riff competing with the brass section along this dynamic sounding soul review. The sadly missed Dr John came to mind while listening to `Count On Me` which was piano led, with brass and horn splashes and a delightful guitar solo to top it all off.
The album closes with `Never Forget` a type of field-holler, gospel-blues piece delivered almost chain gang style with clapping and overlaid vocals and a slide or resonator guitar adding its special blend.
That wonderful English idiom of “don`t judge a book by the cover” came to mind when I`d listened to One Thousand Motel`s album ‘Get In Where You Fit In’, as I’d assumed, wrongly that an album featuring Rat Scabies and Chris Constantinou would be a punk rock riot. Far from it this is a thoroughly classy, totally absorbing blend of gospel, soul, funk, blues, and rock delivered by the cream of the crop of musicians with a diamond of a vocalist that has a wonderful gravelly, lived in diverse vocal range. I have to say this album totally blew me away. I can`t praise it enough and can only hope that others will give it the time and space that it so richly deserves.