Reptar, Oblangle Fizz, Y’all

Reptar, Oblangle Fizz, Y’all

When the old-school beats, dancefloor noise, and tribal-sounding, gorilla-like hoots come in at the start of “Blastoff,” the first track on Reptar’s Oblangle Fizz, Y’all EP (and before you ask: no, I have no idea what the title means), the immediate response is naturally, “ah, okay — it’s dance party time, right?” And yeah, you’d be right, but not quite in the way you’re thinking.

Reptar definitely are here to party, but it’s most likely not like one you’ve ever seen. On Oblangle Fizz, the foursome blazes cheerily through five tracks’ worth of bouncy, bubbly, insistently smiling, sex-obssessed pop that’s funky and energetic as hell. While the band as a whole is pretty great, guitarist/singer Graham Ulicny’s definitely the focus, with his intense, reggae-ified sex-you-up delivery and almost Afro-Caribbean vibe — at points on here (particularly on “Phonetics”), Ulicny comes across as some kind of strange-yet-likable homage to Horace Andy.

I’m having a hard time picking a favorite track out of this particular bunch, I have to say. “Stuck In My ID” — Or is it “Stuck In My Id”? No clue, although it’d make more sense, given the lyrics — is awesomely bubbling, wavery electro-pop that points both towards the Animal Collective and Miike Snow in its quirky, easy, laidback-ness. There’s an oddly dub feel to it, too, accentuated by Ryan Engelberger’s rubbery, echoey bass, and Andrew McFarland’s busy drumming has a little world-music tinge to it, like something off a Sting album. It’s damn near impossible not to smile as this song bumps and wiggles its way along, all skronky keys (courtesy of keyboardist William Kennedy) and rock-solid, quasi-Caribbean-sounding drums.

For its part, “Context Clues” is even cheerier and more insistently, addictively catchy, if you can believe it, with driving, pushing-forward drums and a gorgeous bank of almost Polyphonic Spree-like synths, plus layer upon layer of nighttime jungle noises and clicking clock/typewriter sounds creeping right up into your ear. “RainBounce” is more explicitly reggae-sounding, with touches of funky soul thrown in for fun, and I love the darker, more frantic break bit, where Ulicny dives headlong into murky, grime-y, paranoiac hip-hop over rumbling bass fades and breakbeats, only to dissolve back to the get-on-the-floor party vibe 30 seconds later.

As hinted above, opener “Blastoff” starts off dance-y and rave-like, but then when the vocals come in, it morphs into a funky, quirky, unserious dancefloor-pop romp more than anything else. The beats and chanted vocals make me think of Gold Chains, although the cheery electro-pop bounce immediately differentiates the track from GC’s misanthropy. The quietest track here is EP-ender “Phonetics,” which again rides that island-ish sound as Ulicny flirts and skates through a one-sided conversation with a complete stranger at a party that’s far, far cooler and more fun than where you or I happen to be.

Listening to Oblangle Fizz, Y’all is like stumbling through an unmarked door off an alley somewhere in The Big City, unsure where you’re headed or what you’ll find, and discovering this exuberant, carefree, do-what-you-feel party going on right under your nose. And when you come in the room, with the sound bouncing off the walls and drilling straight into your brain and the primary-colored lights flashing all around, everybody turns to see you, smiles, and beckons you in, welcoming you to a night you’ll never forget.

[Reptar is playing 9/17/11 at the House of Blues, along with Foster the People & Cults.]
(Quality Faucet Records -- 494 Ruth St., Athens, GA. 30601; http://qualityfaucetrecords.blogspot.com/; Make Records Not Bombs -- http://www.makerecordsnotbombs.com/; Reptar -- http://www.reptarmusic.com/; Reptar (Facebook) -- http://www.facebook.com/reptarmusic)
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Review by . Review posted Wednesday, July 13th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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2 Responses to “Reptar, Oblangle Fizz, Y’all

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Reptar (Interviewed!) + Jet Lounge Anniversary + White Crime + Mikey & The Drags + More on September 17th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    […] At the top of my list is the show over at the House of Blues, with Foster the People (who I know nothing about, other than they sold out their last H-town show), Cults (who I’ve heard are good), and, most importantly to me, at least, electro-funk-reggae gang Reptar. The latter’s debut EP, Oblangle Fizz, Y’all, is flat-out awesome, a blast of dance-inducing craziness, and I’m told their live shows match up to that; the review’s up here. […]

  2. SPACE CITY ROCK » Tonight: Don’t Be Me; Go See Reptar on March 28th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    […] might recall that back in September I ranted & raved about Asheville/Athens band Reptar, quite possibly comparing them to the invention of the wheel, […]

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