Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Reptar - Body Faucet

Four spiky chaps from Athens, Georgia, Reptar’s big break came at last year’s SXSW festival where they won plaudits for their danceable live show and bubbly debut EP ‘Oblangle Fizz Y’all’ So have the quartet managed to live up to their blog buzz? The answer: Not quite.

Some of the problems with this album can be attributed to the groups’ lack of experience. With all the band members in their early twenties, they’ve yet to form a coherent identity of their own; instead taking other bands records as a set text on which to base themselves. All twelve tracks of ‘Body Faucet’ were recorded with Ben H Allen, most famous for producing Animal Collective and Gnarls Barkley and his work with the former looms large over this record. Song titles like ‘Orifice Origami’ or ‘Ghost Bike’ even sound as if they’ve come from the Avey Tare and Panda Bear book of nomenclature. Unfortunately Reptar seem to bottle it at the last minute. Tracks like ‘Please Don’t Kill Me’ open sounding like Passion Pit with its blend of yelped vocals and summery synths but quickly settle into a loop after a couple of minutes where a more practiced group might have pushed themselves off in a new direction.

That’s not to say that ‘Body Faucet’ doesn’t have good moments in its own right. Just check the clouds of spacey keyboards that usher in lead single and opening track ‘Sebastian.’ Singer, Graham Ulicny has claimed that its lyrics offer a ‘critique of society’s hetero-norm’ but they’re vague enough to sail over the head of the casual listener. More important is the bouncy bass and cut-glass African guitar lines which give it the feel of Vampire Weekend on a road trip to Graceland. ‘Ghost Bike’ offers the group’s most downbeat, romantic moment; a Prince-ly ballad with lyrics about ‘dreaming of your empty frame’ and despite its silly title, ‘Origami Orifice’ is a sprightly MGMT-style statement of intent to make you want to hurl yourself into a brightly-coloured ball pool. ‘Sweet Sipping Soda’ provides the only real shock with its quick bursts of blunderbuss brass but too quickly its back to tried and tested high-string riffs and afro-pop drums and bass.

Running to almost an hour a little pruning would certainly be preferable but perhaps ‘Body Faucet’ is just the record that this self-confident young band needed to make to to cut loose the baggage they’ve accrued in their short career. Flawed but funky, the shadow of Animal Collective and afro-pop psych oddballs Of Montreal lies heavy over ‘Body Faucet’ but at least the world is a brighter place with them around. Better luck next time for these art-pop Rugrats.


Max Sefton

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