Review : Reptar - Body Faucet
PitchforkHaving blown way more money at 4o Watt, Nowhere Bar, and Schoolkids Records than I care to mention, I can say from personal experience that everything you've heard about Athens, Ga., being a wonderland of fluid indie rock collectives, Southern hospitality, and dirt cheap rent is true. But want to know what band's been most consistently holding the Classic City down for the past decade? Not R.E.M., they were coasting on cred even before they went defunct. of Montreal? Please, you're thinking too hard. Drive-By Truckers? Definitely a contender. But the answer here would be jam-band warhorses Widespread Panic.
I use this exercise as a reminder that Athens is an artistic utopia but also essentially a suburb of Atlanta, and like any major college town, many of the 30-40,000 kids who call it home seriously like nothing more than to throw the fuck down. This explains why Athens is every bit as likely to spawn a band like Reptar as it is Pylon, and it's not just because their press photos look like surveillance footage from an AEPi hazing ritual. With all the indiscriminate enthusiasm and unearned confidence of young adults on the precipice of self-discovery, Reptar uses their debut Body Faucet as a vat in which to hastily dump the past five years of top shelf indie into some kind of frat party-stoking jungle juice.
But if Body Faucet indeed replaces the likes of "That Was a Crazy Game of Poker" during at least one keg bust, it's done a tremendous service, right? Seems kinda churlish to harsh the vibes since Reptar are clearly friendly guys not trying to put one over on us: This isn't fronting like a replacement for the likes of Vampire Weekend or Passion Pit or Yeasayer or Animal Collective and Reptar are likely just as excited for those bands' new albums as you are. Besides, even if everything about the band screams that it wasn't a matter of if they were going to name themselves after a kitschy 90s reference, but which one, the fact a remarkably similar but exponentially more awful band named Coolrunnings exists means we could do a lot worse. ...full text
PastemagazineJust when I was ready to declare that indie-rock was fresh out of surprises, along came Athens’ Reptar, a quartet of misfit college drop-outs whose debut EP, 2011’s Oblangle Fizz, Y’all!, was as dementedly unhinged as it was dementedly catchy. To say they did things their own way would be an understatement: Mingling laser-beam synths, Afro-pop hooks, Jock Jams chants and monstrous drumbeats, they made weird fun again, even if the mania only lasted a half-hour.
The seeds of Body Faucet, the band’s debut full-length, were sewn from a chance encounter: Producer Ben Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective, Washed Out) originally stumbled upon one of their notoriously party-like live shows and offered his studio skills on the spot. Allen’s certainly a trendy choice as of late, and he offers the band focus and depth—polishing up their rough edges and toning down their wildest eccentricities in favor of rousing group symmetry and sparkling clarity. Body Faucet shows signs of artistic growth and maturity, yet never at the expense of funkiness. But with a band like Reptar, “maturity” is dangerous territory. Can they survive a downgrade in quirkiness and emerge, uniqueness intact?
Yes and no. Body Faucet is an improvement over Oblangle in nearly every respect, but it’s definitely not as surprising as that lovely little EP. On Body Faucet, most songs climax in their zip code of origin, and there are fewer sonic detours and weird little layers that peppered their earlier tracks (like the ecstatic “Blastoff”). That being said, what they lose in unpredictability they gain in consistency and muscle. Allen adds heft to Andrew McFarland’s already massive drum kit and Ryan Engelberger’s joyous bass; meanwhile, frontman Graham Ulicny has apparently been listening to a lot of Vampire Weekend, his cartoonish tenor and reverb-splashed guitars undulating in affable Afro-pop circles.
At its worst, Body Faucet is an ice-cream headache: too much of a good thing too quickly. A few tracks (“Houseboat Babies,” the slightly vague “Three Shining Suns”) feel like oxford commas in an ocean of exclamation points—but everything else is grade-A killer, from the dance-y sexual awakening epic “Sebastian” to the horn-punctuated, Graceland-on-acid anthem “Please Don’t Kill Me” to the psychedelic and heartbreaking fever dream “Ghost Bike” (which vividly depicts the action and aftermath of a child’s bike-bound death),
So what if Reptar aren’t as surprising as they used to be? They’re better....full text
ClatlThe four fellas that make up Athens buzz-pop sensation Reptar wear the marks of 21st-century indie glam on their fuzzy sweater sleeves (Animal Collective, what hath ye wrought?) but Body Faucet also finds the band acknowledging its debt to those influences: Elvis Costello hangs warily about, as do the Police, to some extent, and other neon-brushed ghosts of 1980s globo-pop radio. It's a serviceable tribute, but on a personal level, Reptar's debut full-length proves highly unremarkable. Body Faucet is well-executed but sterile, full of weary and familiar accoutrements. The Vampire Weekend-y Afropop beats that pulse through many of the album's tracks seem oddly lifeless, while the post-MGMT posi-pop of "Orifice Origami" is proudly suited for the next AmEx spot — one of those ads full of smiling yuppies apparently feeling high and unfettered. But let's be savvy consumers. The trouble with Body Faucet is that it inspires little real feeling at all. ...full text
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