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Repomen - Vapour Trails

  by John Clarkson

published: 22 / 3 / 2014

Repomen - Vapour Trails
Label: Phantom Power Records
Format: CDS


Imaginative and unpredictable latest EP from Sheffield-based alternative rockers, RepoMen

RepoMen are a Sheffield-based institution. The group, which consists of Denzil Watson (lead vocals), Ric Bower (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Simon Tiller (bass, vocals) and James Hughes (drums), have recorded an EP most years since 2000, and also released two albums, 2006's 'Songs They Never Play on the Radio' and a 2011 twenty-track compilation 'Occasional Sensations'. RepoMen started out as punk /new wave act in the early 1990s, but have over the years extended far beyond this, incorporating elements of post punk, Americana, folk and indie pop into their increasingly broad and experimental songwriting. 'Vapour Trails', their twelfth and latest EP, is opened and closed with 'Rare Cabriolet' and 'Ophelia', both of which find RepoMen in different ways returning to their early roots. 'Rare Cabriolet' - a tale of obsession centred around a 1976 flame red vintage car - opens with a defiant scream and Simon Tiller's sludgy bass line at the fore. Throwing a jangling organ solo into its middle, it is a waspish-sounding number, which, with Watson's vocals having a similar abrasion to the young Liam Gallagher, has all the energy and thunder of the early Oasis and their 'Definitely Maybe' album. 'Ophelia' is equally taut. It begins a capella with a chanted chorus line, before Bower's discordant Ramones-esque guitar lurches in and singing also the lead vocals he attacks an over self-centred friend (“You have no sympathy or feeling.”). In the middle there is ‘Vicar Street’, which pushes Tiller’s grinding bass again to the front, and then combines it with a stop-start rhythm and a surprising jazzy guitar line and drums from Bower and Hughes. The third and other song on ‘Vapour Trails’ is the title track. At over five minutes in length, it is twice the length of the three other songs on the EP and like ‘Vicar Street’ more experimental. Named after the condensation trails left behind by airplanes, it opens with chiming and soaring guitars which become steadily dark and brooding as the track progresses, At one level the most sublime of love songs, it, however, hints at much more, both the brevity of everything, and humankind’s own ability to destroy itself and its own planet (“A shadow on England’s hallowed soil”). On ‘Vapour Trails’ RepoMen continue to be as imaginative as they are unpredictable and inventive.

Track Listing:-
1 Rare Cabriolet
2 Vicar Street
3 Vapour Trails
4 Ophelia

Band Links:-

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Interview (2015)
Repomen - Interview
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’
Interview (2011)
Interview (2004)
Interview (2002)

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Casbah, Sheffield, 27/10/2003
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