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Repomen - Out Of Here

  by John Clarkson

published: 18 / 11 / 2004

Repomen - Out Of Here
Label: Repo Records
Format: CDS


Eclectic new EP from the hard-wearing and increasingly impossible-to-pigeonhole Sheffield act, the Repomen

By the time many bands have passed the decade mark they have settled into a dormant form of middle age, rarely evolving and  often chugging out endless rehashes of the same old songs and ideas. For the Repomen, nothing has, however, ever remained stagnant. The group, a Sheffield-based four piece, which consists of Denzil  Watson (vocals), Ric Bower (guitar), Simon Tiller (bass) and James Hughes (drums), first formed in 1990, split up in 1992 and then reformed in 1996. Much of the reason for the Repomens' continued development has been a constant redefining by its members of their roles. In the early days of the group Bower used to do all the songwriting, but now Watson also contributes some of the penmanship. While Watson used to do all the singing, Bower too takes the occasional stint on lead vocals. Both have also in recent years started playing the keyboards. Tiller and Hughes have expanded their parts within the group as well. Tiller also plays the double bass, while Hughes undertakes some of the lead guitar duties. The Repomen recorded two cassette only singles, 'Burst' and 'Omen', in the early 90's, but since reforming have since  2000 released approximately an EP a year, each one radically different from the last. The five song 'Out of Here' , their fifth CD EP, finds the Repomen moving on again. While the Repomen originally defined themselves as a punk band, 'Out of Here' shows that they have become essentially genreless. The title track on this new EP finds the Repomen briefly returning to their roots, and recalls Devo with its nervous, jagged energy.  Choppy guitars are merged with ticking, fraught keyboards and thunderous handclaps.  Watson's  lyrics are clipped and taut. "I'm so tired/drugged and wired/No solution/Pull the plug out" he sings as an opening gambit, capturing all the scrambled agitation of his protagonist as he spirals downwards into a breakdown. It is a sharp shock to the system of a song, and one that gets the EP off to a convincingly breezy start. As it seems that things can't get any more intense, there then, however, comes the second track, the breathless 'Love Me.' Almost hardcore in tone, it is less than half the length of 'Out of Here', lasting barely a minute, but still throws into its brief running time both a verse and a chorus. Watson bellows out his cry for love against a barrage of breakneck-played, distorted guitars. Too quirky and too short to have perhaps quite the same durability as its predecessor, 'Love Me' nevertheless, however, remains worth listening too, simply for its sheer audacity and the degree of experimentation it involves.   The third track, 'Fold', dispenses with the buoyant exuberance of the first two songs, but maintains their restlessness. Epic in tone, and mysteriously sinister, it merges swirling guitars and brooding keyboards with an operatic, near falsetto vocal from Bower. "Control your breathing/Cover your eyes" he croons, but at who or what remains an haunting enigma. It recalls the Associates at their most dark, or the ambivalent moody beauty of 'Faith' era the Cure. The last two songs finds the Repomen shifting gears again and are both acoustic numbers. The first song, 'Ships', which again has Bower on vocals, features soaring plunks of piano and what sounds like a synthesised accordion, and tells of a the disappointment of a life unfulfilled after a romance has gone tragically wrong. The latter song, the hazy 'Tomorrow', in contrast reveals a more optimistic side to the Repomen , and, with gusts of lightly jangling chords, captures the intoxication of the perfect love affair. "I sleep in a dream/Feeling love and comfort wrapped around my heart" lilts Watson, bringing the EP to a tender, but affirmative close. Five songs then, five different sides of the Repomen. The Repomen prove with 'Out of Here' that they are impossible to typecast or to slot neatly into a category. This is a very good record . On the evidence of it, it seems that there is a lot more mileage to the Repomen yet.

Track Listing:-
1 Out Of Here
2 Love Me
3 Fold
4 Ships
5 Tomorrow

Band Links:-

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