Elton Motello

  • Elton Motello
  • Victim of Time (Can. Attic) 1979 
  • Pop Art (Passport) 1980 

Best known for an obnoxious 1978 single (“Jet Boy Jet Girl”) that coupled the backing track of Plastic Bertrand’s “Ça Plane Pour Moi” with smarmy lyrics about fellatio, Elton Motello, an Englishman who had worked in the studio with the Belgian Bert, escaped that juvenility and became a half-baked quirky pop-rocker. Each album — the first, a collection of singles and other items recorded during 1977 and 1978; the second, a fully conceived and executed band effort — has worthwhile tracks that flatter the artist (if not his minor songwriting talent).

Victim of Time leads off with seven minutes of “Jet Boy Jet Girl,” but also boasts a funny ode to a drunken father (“He’s a Rebel”) and great versions of “Pipeline” and the Small Faces’ “Sha La La La Lee” (again using Bertrand’s backing track). The Ramonesy rock is functional and, when he’s not sinking to topics like “Teen Pimp” and “Artificial Incemination” [sic], Motello’s jovial manner makes the record entertaining. Proceed, but with caution.

Pop Art is a wholly different affair — synth-pop that aspires to be weird for weird’s sake, but with occasional success. The best track is a totally syncopated version of the Who’s “I Can’t Explain”; other numbers work New Musik/M dance-pop terrain to good effect.

[Ira Robbins]