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Repomen - Headlines

  by John Clarkson

published: 3 / 11 / 2010

Repomen - Headlines
Label: Phantom Power Records
Format: CDS


Bleak, but uncompromising and haunting latest record from durable and inventive Sheffield-based band, the RepoMen

These are dark times in which we live and the RepoMen’s new EP, ‘Headlines’, captures the current Zeitgeist with its oppressive regimes, paranoia and uncertainty perfectly. Part of this is achieved by the temporary addition to the regular line-up of Denzil Watson (vocals, keyboards), Ric Bower (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Simon Tiller (bass, vocals) and James Hughes (drums) of local Sheffield-based multi-instrumentalist and “honorary Repo” Howard Price. His searing blasts of trumpet on the first two tracks, ‘Headlines’ and ‘Flicker’, and also violin again on the title track help to give the whole EP a feeling of epic sombreness. ‘Headlines’ tells the story of 26 year old Neda Agha Soltani who became the worldwide spearhead for 2009 election revolutions when her shooting and death on a political rally against vote rigging was caught on video mobile phone. Watson’s mournful and bitterly ironic vocals and its tale of this unfortunate young woman, however, give it an appropriate melancholy (“This is not my revolution/I am not dying for your cause”). ‘Flicker’ is both dark and urgent. Escalating edgy guitars and enigmatically sinister vocals from Watson (“I know what is going on with you/I know what is going on to you/Do you?”) fuel further the sense of alienation and disorder that dominate this EP. It moves briefly into Calexico territory with the injection of a Mariachi trumpet towards the end, but the overall tone is again bleak. ‘What We Do’, the third song, is about state repression in Burma (“This is what we do and it’s got nothing to do with you”), and merges jumpy guitars and vocals. Lastly there is ‘Feed Me’, an experimental track which combines together ghostly whispers of vocals and a pattering acoustic guitar with slithering scrapes of melodica. This is the eleventh EP from the RepoMen who first formed in 1992, and who have also released an album, ‘Songs They Never Play on the Radio’. Never afraid to try something new, ‘Headlines’ finds the always versatile RepoMen again in different territory from their pop-punk edged last two EPs, ‘Star’ and ‘Parallel Schizophrenic’. It is a bold, uncompromising and haunting record which sticks with its listener long after its finish.

Track Listing:-
1 Headlines
2 Flicker
3 What We Do
4 Feed Me
5 Parallel Schizophrenic
6 A Song From Under The Floorboards

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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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