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Strange Motel's Dark Guitar Pop Comes with a Four Star Rating

Benaiah Fiu of Gold Coast punks Sex Drive delivers a strong new demo.
Image: YouTube

About halfway through "Transition”, the opening track on Strange Motel’s new demo, the drum machine suddenly drop outs like a cord has accidentally been kicked from the wall. It’s abrupt and noticeable but the song quickly picks up and returns to breezy guitar melodies and disaffected vocals. The moment captures the casual songwriting ease found on the four-song demo.

Strange Motel is a solo project from Benaiah Fiu, a guitarist for Queensland punks Sex Drive. His new demo sounds nothing like Sex Drive. Some of the tracks are what I imagine The Charlatans would sound like if they were Gold Coast bodyboarders. At other times I’m reminded of early Merchandise, the pop project that Carson Cox and David Vassalloti developed after their time in Florida punk acts like Church Whip and Neon Blud.

Fiu writes strong songs and the arrangements and melody lend to his drifting vocals. But it's not all just him sitting around and writing cool bedroom pop with his guitar. “Black Spring” has some interesting horn parts, and the closing “Angel Wings” includes synth and some really pretty backup vocals.

Look out for a new Strange Motel release on Sexy Romance records.

'Strange Motel' demo is available now on BandCamp.