The Australian quartet Motor Ace broke through in their native country in the late 90s with their brand of melodic pop rock aimed at the adult market. Comprising Patrick Robertson (vocals/guitar/piano), Matt Balfe (bass/organ/vocals), Dave Ong (guitar/piano/vocals) and Damian Costin (drums), the band’s roots stretch back to the early 90s in an obscure group called Snowblind. By late 1997, Snowblind was ditched in favour of a new name, Motor Ace, after the band emerged from a four-month songwriting session. A year later, the Motor Ace line-up was finally put into place, and instead of immediately attempting to land a major label recording contract, the quartet opted to independently issue a double a-sided single, ‘Criminal Past’/‘Five Star Laundry’. Local live dates soon followed, that eventually resulted in the band signing a recording contract in February 1999 (with Festival Mushroom Records). With producer Paul Mechercher overseeing the sessions, the band issued a five-song EP, Motor Ace, later the same year. Further EPs and singles followed (2000’s American Shoes and Death Defy, plus 2001’s Hey Driver), while airplay on Australia’s Triple J and a spot opening for the Foo Fighters on a club tour only heightened their profile.
Motor Ace’s debut album, Five Star Laundry, finally appeared in March 2001, and was supported by the band’s very first headlining tour. The album was an immediate hit back home (peaking at number 4 on the album charts), as the quartet snagged another prime touring spot, opening for Blink-182. The track ‘Death Defy’ also became well known through its use in the opening credits to the popular television series The Secret Life Of Us. The Carry On and Keeping Secrets EPs followed before Motor Ace’s follow-up, Shoot This, was issued in August 2002.