(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Monday, June 13, 2011

CD review - Reptar, Oblangle Fizz Y'all (2011)

By all accounts, Reptar puts on a great live show. Oblangle Fizz Y'all certainly adds to that impression. A party mood permeates the five track EP, with chaos and pop swirled together. In interviews, the band has a calculated goofiness which also shoots through the EP like Silly String. This is Reptar's strength and Achilles heel. They're quirky and funny, but not joky. That silliness would liven up a concert and doesn't wear out its welcome on a short EP, but it's less clear that a full length album would work. The quirkiness might wear thin.

Even though Reptar comes out of Athens, GA, they're more B-52s than REM. The music is a strange hybrid of boom boxy indie electro pop. On the first track, Blastoff, Reptar starts with a vaguely world beat influenced sound, but the main groove is more like J Geils Band. The overlapping background vocals continue the global pop sound underneath, but the bouncy indie pop fun of the foreground drives the track. The break slides into a stronger electro pop sound with intertwined guitars and keys. This jam section fades back into a reprise of the vocals with waves of synth wash.

Stuck in My ID keeps up the electro pop influence, but the flavor is completely different. It's a lot like a rework of Missing Person's Destination Unknown with the Edge grafting on a guitar line. It slides into more of a pop sound that feels like Talking Heads or Tom Tom Club.

Things slow down with Context Clues, which hits more of an Animal Collective vibe. The track is built on a loop orchestrated with ambient sounds. The complex base underlies a sweeping flow as layers accumulate with each repetition. By Rainbounce and Phonetics, the odd vocal delivery is not quite as interesting. The affected accent on Phonetics is particularly distracting. Fortunately, the music is still strong.

Oblangle Fizz Y'all is due to release next month. Reptar has also released a few other songs on 7" singles, including Cannabis Canyons and Houseboat Babies. They're touring with Art Brut right now and they'll be at Lollapalooza, so maybe you'll get a chance to see if the show lives up to the hype. I'm guessing they'll play an entertaining set.

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