I'm not sure which to praise more: Rupert Wates' marvelous lyrics, the spotless music, or that streetside cabaret folk voice of his, a crafted instrument which seduces as it gently reproves, a father understanding its children will be as unintentionally wayward as he despite best intentions in a world lacking a heart, a strange environment of ambushes hiding only ravenous maw and lengthy intestines. Take, for instance, the depth of psychology and understanding displayed in just three lines:
I promised you an easier road
No blame, no shoving off of responsibility, just a sympathetic and very knowing description of the human condition in the bizarre game called 'love', an affair that, even in the avoidance, claims its due. Ah, but then there's ego, and the verses for Fool's Parade miss no one in their lancing of masks and deceptive overcoats, not even the writer. All of At the Loser's Motel is laid in gentle melodies (When Love Came to Stay is pure Five Leaves Left era Nick Drake with a bit of Pink Moon sifted in) and modern folk/roots refrains echoing the yesteryears of workers smoking a break-time cigarette in dark alleys before getting back to busting suds for the boss smiling so greasily as customer after customer file in to shed dollars into his open bottomless pockets.
This is one gifted sonofabitch, throwing off song after affecting song with what appears to be complete ease (and, God, what worlds of toil lay behind that illusion!), yet to write a single track that wouldn't be completely at home in any serious radio venue not dedicated to pop crap and beer jingle music. Rupert Wates goes back to the days when Axelrod, Ackles, Nilsson, Drake, and a small pack of gents told the bubblegum 'n Pepsi world to take a hike and kept on scripting work that stands as timelessly today as in decades past…if only the ears it all was intended for would wake up a moment and listen. When you're done with Loser's Motel, go back to here and here. If you're not hip to this guy, you're missing a lot.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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