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Repomen - Star EP

  by John Clarkson

published: 25 / 5 / 2008

Repomen - Star EP
Label: Phantom Power Records
Format: CDS


First-rate ninth EP from hard-wearing, but still unpredictable Sheffield-based group the Repomen

Since forming in 1992, the Sheffield-based four-piece the Repomen have been consistently inventive as well as hard-wearing. The group, which consists of Denzil Watson (vocals, occasional percussion), Ric Bower (guitars, piano, vocals), Simon Tiller (bass, vocals) and James Hughes (drums), have released eight EPs, a split single, and last year an album, 'Songs They Never Play on the Radio'. The passing years have seen the Repomen move far beyond their post/pop punk origins and experiment with music in a wide range of directions including Americana, alternative folk, jangle pop, hardcore punk and psychedelia, while recent times have found them working with an increasingly piano-based sound. Their ninth and latest EP, 'Star', which was recorded by Alan Smyth, who has worked with the Arctic Monkeys, however, finds the Repomen returning briefly back to their roots. The title track is a gorgeous slice of guitar-lead post punk. Bower's grinding, abrasive guitar and Tiller's jerky bass combine with a catchy chorus to make this an exuberant, poppy number. "You should have been a star/Are you happy where you are ?" Denzil sings about a friend whose band should have made it, but sadly never did. 'Violet', the first of the B sides, is in complete contrast a delicately lush piano ballad with rippling chords, and that also features Tiller on double bass and Hughes on brushes. A song in classic 60's singer-songwriter mode, it tells of a relationship on the rocks. "The feeling is gone/In the quietest room where I first held you/you were lost just like the rest of us" sings Denzil with soft melancholy about his lover who has grown apart and cold on him. In the final line of this song, the sense of poignancy that has dominated this whole piece reaches an even greater height when, questioning if they ever really were very close, he asks her, "When we were dancing, were you happy then ?" 'Diminished' is an ambient instrumental, which with its slowly swelling piano, could be the soundtrack to an as-yet-unmade European art house film. Lastly there is the spooky, experimental 'Both Feet' which begins with Denzil, Bower and Tiller's vocals floating eerily a cappella around each other, before eventually a woozy keyboard and scraping percussion kick in. The voices continue to drift around each other, before eventually fading gradually away to be replaced by another starkly beautiful piano instrumental. The Repomen have always believed in pushing themselves and their audience, and while the three B sides finds the group moving convincingly into areas they have not gone before, ‘Star’ itself is a refreshing take on the band’s own past. Even after over fifteen years together, when most other bands of the same vintage have fallen into oblivion or worse still have become formulaic, the Repomen remain magically unpredictable. The ‘Star’ EP is another first-rate offering from this most creative and chameleon-like of acts.

Track Listing:-
1 Star
2 Violet
3 Diminished
4 Both Feet

Band Links:-

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John Clarkson speaks to Denzil Watson, the front man with durable Sheffield indie act RepoMen about 'Occasional Sensations', which is a documentary film about them, and their recent album, ‘I’m Only Doing This Because I Like Your Robot’
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